William Howard Taft in Panama


This film shows a visit of President William Howard Taft to inspect construction work on the Panama Canal, probably in November 1910. Taft previously had served as secretary of war in the cabinet of President Theodore Roosevelt, where he played a role in the development of the canal and made many visits to Panama. The film shows a crowd of men and women on a dock, posing for the camera. A boat pulls into an unidentified harbor, with Taft and General George W. Goethals, chief engineer of the Panama Canal project, seated on the upper deck. Also shown are Taft and his entourage in formal dress on board what may be the armored cruiser USS Tennessee, while the crew stands at attention. Taft and his entourage are seen disembarking from an unidentified vessel, with another crowd gathered on the dock. In another scene, the Taft party is greeted at a train by General Goethals; the party includes Mrs. Helen Herron Taft, wife of the president, and Federico Alfonso Pezet, minister to the United States from Peru. In the last scene, Taft and members of his party visit the site of stone ruins in the jungle. The U.S. project to build the canal began in June 1904 and took a decade to complete.

Last updated: April 3, 2015