Archives on the Air 272: The Panama Canal – Eleanor McIlhenny papers
The Panama Canal is considered one of the seven engineered wonders of the modern world. Opened in 1914, the 48-mile long canal allows ships to cross from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean.
The canal was an important part of the defense of the United States during World War II. At the height of the war, 65,000 American soldiers were stationed in Panama. Germany and Japan both had plotted to bomb the canal, but their plans were eventually abandoned.
Eleanor McIlhenny (pronounced MAC-il-henny) was a reporter who lived and worked in the Panama Canal Zone from the 1940s to the 1960s. She covered the planned construction of a third set of locks for the canal. The construction effort required thousands of laborers and was projected to cost 277 million dollars.
Learn more about life in the Panama Canal Zone in the Eleanor McIlhenny papers at UW’s American Heritage Center.