Start Digging! - Excavation of the Monument River at the Collins Farm House - August 15, 1912. The Canal had originally been envisioned by Pilgrim Miles Standish, and was even looked into by President George Washington; but attempts in earnest did not begin until 1909, with large rocks & extreme Winter storms slowing things down dramatically.
Looking Back - Looking back West of the dam at the Collins Farm House. Since the area is below sea level, it must be constantly pumped to avoid flooding.
Lots of Work - Quite a bit of work has been completed on the area compared to the first photo - Note the Collins Farm House to the right rear.
Working Along - The steam shovel dredges out the Monument River, while rocks & spoils are taken out via small rail cars.
BIG Rocks! - Rocks such as this were moved into the area by the glaciers of the great Ice Age. Many had to be blown up into smaller pieces with explosives.
Meet Me In The Middle - Two dredges work their way towards each other dredging out shoals & rocks from the Monument River. Note the horse drawn wagon to the left - In the early 1900's there were very few cars on the road.
Dam View - This picture was taken from the Sandwich (East) end of the work, with the dam holding back the water from Cape Cod Bay being seen about dead center.
The Waters Meet - Once the dam was broken through, sod & rocks were removed and the waters from the East & West ends of the Monument River met, officially forming the Cape Cod Canal.
Open For Business - The Cape Cod Canal was officially opened to limited traffic on July 30, 1914, about 5 years after construction was started. Construction was ongoing through 1916.
Opening Ceremony - Many attended the ceremonies leading up to the opening of the Canal. Franklin D. Roosevelt, who at the time was the Assistant Secretary of the Navy was on hand at the opening.
The First Ship - The Rose Standish, of the Nantasket Beach Boat Line, was the first ship through the Cape Cod Canal on July 29, 1914. It led the parade of boats, including the U.S. Navy Destroyer McDougall (DD-54) carrying Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt.
West End of the Canal - Here boats enter the Canal from the West end at Phinney's Harbor through the cut between Hog Island & Mashnee Island. Both this entrance and the East entrance at the Sandwich end proved to be quite treacherous because of currents & winds.
Lots of Corners - The initial Canal had many curves & turns, making for some tight maneuvering. Note the pilings along both sides of the corner, to keep the boats on track.
A Tight Squeeze! - When the Canal first opened, it could only accommodate one way traffic at any time. Here you can clearly see just how narrow it was, with a string of masted vessels following a tug boat.
Out Into Deep Water - Here the same masted vessels are barged together and being towed out to sea by the tug, where they will be able to then continue their journey on their own. Stay tuned for more pictures....