George Washington Goethals was a leading engineer whose work shaped the construction of the Panama Canal. He lived at this home from 1888 until 1907, being sent by the army engineering corps to work on the Muscle Shoals Canal. This nearby engineering project allowed river traffic to bypass the Muscle Shoals that made this section of the Tennessee River nearly impassable for larger ships. Goethals went on to lead the construction of the Panama Canal from 1907 to 1914 after being assigned to the project by President Theodore Roosevelt after he became dissatisfied with the project's slow progress. Often referred to as the Czar of Panama, Goethals appointment and the transfer of authority from civilian to military control gave him greater authority to move the once-stalled project.