July 12, 1920: Panama Canal formally opens

The Panama Canal first opened to shipping in 1914 but the event was overshadowed by news about World War I. The greatest engineering feat in the history finally had the world’s attention at its formal inauguration in 1920. More than thirty years of work and a cost of $347 million had built the fifty-one mile water tollway through the Isthmus of Panama, realizing the dream of a short shipping route from Atlantic to Pacific ports.