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Roosevelt Medal

"For two years continuous service on the Panama Canal"
Roosevelt medals were awarded to every American citizen who worked for a two-year period on the construction of the Panama Canal. Minted from copper and bronze salvaged from equipment abandoned by the French (who started building the canal), the medal features an image of Theodore Roosevelt and the recipient's name on one side. The reverse shows the recipient's years of service, a serial number, and an image of the Culebra Cut, a nine-mile, 272-foot-deep excavation through the Cordillera Mountains. This medal was awarded to G.A. Heath for his service between 1904 and 1906, and was the 119th of the more than 6,000 medals that were issued. Nothing is known about Heath--except that, for whatever reason, he failed to claim his medal.

In November 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt made a three-day visit to Panama to see the canal construction. During that trip he promised to award presidential medals to qualified workers.
Theodore Roosevelt, born October 27, 1858, New York, NY; died January 6, 1919, Oyster Bay, NY
Web display only

Learn more!
· The Smithsonian and Panama
· "Make the Dirt Fly: Building the Panama Canal," a Smithsonian Institution Libraries Exhibition

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