Panama Canal Preview

On August 15th, 1914, the Panama Canal opened connecting the world’s two largest oceans and signaling America’s emergence as a global superpower. American ingenuity and innovation had succeeded where, just a few years earlier, the French had failed disastrously. But the U.S. paid a price for victory: more than a decade of ceaseless, grinding toil, an outlay of more than 350 million dollars—the largest single federal expenditure in history to that time – and the loss of more than 5,000 lives. 

My American Experience

My American Experience photos

Share Your Story

Have you gone through the locks? Or, did you have a family member who worked on the Panama Canal? Share your photos, stories and experiences.



  • Additional funding for this program was provided by

  • Arthur Vining Davis Foundations
  • NEH