If you take a quick look at this photo, you may think these workers were digging a highway or a path to lay train tracks. Actually, they are in the early stages of building the Cape Cod Canal. Construction of the canal began in 1909 and six years later it was opened to boats on a limited basis. By 1916, the canal was finished and provided ships a 62 mile shortcut from Boston to New York.
The work was stalled many times because of the cold New England winters and the enormous boulders that were left in the ground by Ice Age glaciers. When it was finished, the privately owned canal would be 100 feet long and 25 feet deep, and vessels would pay a toll for passing through. After a U-Boat attack in 1918, the federal government seized control of the canal and eventually purchased it. They spent $21 million to extend the length to 480 feet and the depth to 32 feet, making it more accessible for larger commercial ships. The canal also became free for any ship to use.
The canal is still used today for recreational and commercial purposes. Container ships and oil tankers use the canal to reach New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island for deliveries. It has become a tourist destination for any traveller who visits south eastern Massachusetts. Have you visited the canal? We’d love to see your photos and hear your stories. Send them to Wicked Local Media Solutions or tweet us @WLMediaSolution.
Photo from Historic New England