Object of the Day

Caua Saddle

2013.8.71front

The reverse of this image reads “Caua Saddle.” Please help us learn what that means.

Is it a town or city? Is it a person? Possibly a landmark or part of the canal?

What kind of buildings are these? What are they used for? Do they look familiar?

If you have any information or stories about this image, please share your knowledge with us in the comments section!

4 Comments

  • robertsprague2013

    This was likely one of the various “saddle dams” that were built to fill the spaces between hills that were on the periphery of Gatun Lake so that an 85 ft above sea level height could be maintained. There was concern before Operation Just Cause that hostile forces could blow up these “saddles” to empty the lake. It was determined that it would be very difficult to do much damage because of the construction of the dams being too wide …

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  • Charlie Morris

    Bob: I address this issue in my book (“Guarding the Crossroads) on page 66, “Saddle Dams,” the most vulnerable earthern saddle dams in Gatun and Madden Lakes. Gatun Lake is formed by 25 saddles. Cano Saddles 2,3, and 4 are the only saddles around Gatun Lake where Saddle Dams were constructed, the rest are natural. From a sabotage point of view, the Cano Saddle on the Trinidad Arm of Gatun lake along its westerly, shore near the village of Escobal, and the two others (Barro and Ergonal, I believe), located near the town of Cativa on the Canoa Saddle, near the Transisthmian Highway, have always been of concern . Cano Saddle generally runs at an elevation of 105-feet above sea level, the same as the Gatun Dam and Spillway. However, one Cano Saddle is somewhat lower at 93-feet. Given that Gatun Lake’s normal elevation is 85-feet, this only provides about 8-feet of dam above the water level and less at the extreme water level of 87-feet. Not to worry. It is estimated that it would require a significant engineering effort and a lot of exlosives to rupture the dam over which runs a public road and a half-dozen houses. In February 1991, at the request of the new Canal Administrator ( Gilberto Guardia) who had heard about this “vulnerability,” I accompanied a USARSO engineer to inspect the sadddle dams. He concluded that the saddle dams were a low threat risk: that it would require an extensive effort to cause failure; and there would be no significant impact due to failure. Regards, Charlie Morris. CC: panamor@hotmail.com; johnmills@millsmotors.net; wapinmiami@yahoo.com; benhet1970@aol.com; fmcain3@aol.com From: robertsprague@hotmail.com Subject: Re: [New post] Caua Saddle Date: Mon, 3 Mar 2014 19:02:50 +0100 To: comment+7hbgux9j_6-nnzwrcj69s1v@comment.wordpress.com

    This was likely one of the various “saddle dams” that were built to fill the spaces between hills that were on the periphery of Gatun Lake so that an 85 ft above sea level height could be maintained. There was concern before Operation Just Cause that hostile forces could blow up these “saddles” to empty the lake. It was determined that it would be very difficult to do much damage because of the construction of the dams being too wide …

  • bkarrer2013

    These “saddles” are low points along the shores of Lake Gatun which were built up during the Construction Era to keep the lake waters from overflowing & thereby eroding theland around the lake and thereby causing the Canal to literally empty. There have never been any problems with them that I know of. This picture probably will date to 1913 or later… looks pretty primitive. I am not familiar with this particular one. If there are other photos in the collection that are from this same “collection” I’d be pleased to put them as a group into perspective. BTW: these buildings were likely used for equipment and a place to stay for the workers involved in the saddle projects. Bob Karrer

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    From: The Panama Canal Museum Collection at UF [mailto:comment-reply@wordpress.com] Sent: Monday, March 03, 2014 12:49 PM To: bkarrer@comcast.net Subject: [New post] Caua Saddle

    ufpcmcollection posted: ” The reverse of this image reads “Caua Saddle.” Please help us learn what that means. Is it a town or city? Is it a person? Possibly a landmark or part of the canal? What kind of buildings are these? What are they used for? Do they look familiar?”

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