Skip to main content
Engineering the Panama Canal
Civil Engineering
  • J. David Rogers, Missouri University of Science and Technology

Like many boys growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, I was fascinated with collecting stamps, and they taught me much about our American legacy. But the only stamps that ever honored the contributions of American civil engineers were issued between 1928 and 1948 by the Panama Canal Zone. Distinctly American in design, they bore standard motifs of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. Most of the men they portrayed were public figures during the years 1904 to 1914, when the Panama Canal was being constructed. These stamps represent a significant chapter in American history, but few of us know much about the men they recognize. This article is a detailed account of the decisive roles played by eight American engineers in building the Panama Canal, unquestionably one of the most remarkable engineering feats of all time. As we celebrate the canal's centennial this year, it's worth pausing to reflect on this glorious American engineering achievement.

Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering
Keywords and Phrases
  • Civil Engineering,
  • Construction Method,
  • Occupation,
  • Project Management
Geographic Coverage
Panama Canal
Document Type
Article - Journal
Document Version
File Type
© 2014 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), All rights reserved.
Publication Date
Publication Date
01 Oct 2014
Citation Information
J. David Rogers. "Engineering the Panama Canal" Civil Engineering Vol. 84 Iss. 10 (2014) p. 72 - 95 ISSN: 0885-7024
Available at: