Feb. 26, 1909 (Friday)
CANAL ENGINEER WORRIES ABOUT PANAMA'S GATUN DAM:Members of Boston's Commercial club got an earful yesterday from French engineer Philippe Bunau-Varilla (right) who told listeners he fears that the massive Gatun Dam could give way and lead to "one of the greatest disasters of modern times." In addition, he condemned the idea of building the canal in Panama with locks, saying that eventually the designers will see the error of their ways and remove enough dirt to make a sea-level canal between the Atlantic and Pacific. The Globe explained why the Frenchman is being so candid in his criticism of the dam (shown above in 1908):
His reason for speaking so plainly on the subject he said was similar to Col. Picquart's reason for reopening the Dreyfus case -- he did not wish to die with the knowledge of the thing on his conscience.... already a section of the dam 200 feet long and 80 feet high had sunk 20 feet, and he did not care to think what would happen when the full weight of the dam and the water behind it was brought to bear on such an unstable foundation.
GLOBE MASCOT LOOKS LIKE HE SWALLOWED A ... GLOBE: You have to love this top-hatted, cheery mascot of the Globe. The portly gentleman is obviously happy to be promoting a color photo of someone who would rival him in girth -- the massive Taft, whose inauguration is imminent.