Preserving the History of the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Seattle, Washington

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Friday, May 19, 2017

History Month Weekend Activities

This weekend, May 20th and  21st will have a special celebration of Community Gardening, along with other activities and displays at the Locks. The Carl English Botanical Gardens certainly benefits from its many volunteers who help out throughout the year, not to mention the benefits enjoyed from the visitors who come from all corners of the globe to take in the beauty of the gardens and many activities happening around the clock at the locks.

The Administration Building has displays from local historical and neighborhood groups and our local HistoryLink with their Waterlines map, which was part of the Waterlines exhibit at the Burke Museum. There will be some local volunteers and historians present from 1:00 to 3:00 pm, to answer questions and talk about some of the items on display. Bring your own stories and curiosity and enjoy another weekend at one of Seattle's most popular attractions.

Monday, May 8, 2017

History Month at the Locks

May is national history month and May 6 and 7 saw many groups put on a variety of exhibitions, activities and performances at the Chittenden Locks. Most of the displays will be open for public viewing in the Administration Building during the month, and will even be open on the weekends just for the month of May. Displays have been contributed by the Rainier Valley Historical Society, Fremont Historical Society, History Link, Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society, American Society of Civil Engineers and the Friends of the Ballard Locks.

Bridge building activity

Building a straw bridge

Friday, May 5, 2017

National History Month at the Locks

The following is a post from the website of Making the Cut 100, a group of historians and individuals involved in bringing attention to the 100th anniversary of the Lake Washington Ship Canal and Chittenden Locks.

May is National History Month and we will be jumping on board with a number of activities celebrating the centennial of the Locks and the Ship Canal. Join us!
The Administration Building will be open every day 10 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. to view displays provided by local history groups. The highlight of the displays is a six-foot long model of the S.S. Roosevelt which was the official boat on Opening Day 100 years ago. The Visitor Center, open daily 10:00 a.m. to 6 p.m., will feature special displays of antique tools and instruments that were used in the engineering and construction of the Locks.
Take note of the following special activities:
Saturday, May 6, Children’s fishing game 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.; Chat with a Historian 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Sunday, May 7, ceremony and reception honoring Clayton Naset, builder of the Roosevelt model 1:00 p.m.; Chat with a Historian, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.; Kid’s Toy Boat Building, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Saturday, May 20, Chat with a Historian, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Sunday, May 21, Chat with a Historian, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

It is also Opening Day and you can watch the crew races down by the Montlake Cut. A little something for everyone!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Calling All Boats

Here's the opening of an invitation to boat owners to participate in a boat parade to commemorate the Centennial Anniversary of the Ship Canal and Chittenden Locks. From

Join The Parade!
The Centennial Boat Parade Committee seeks boats of all types for a reenactment Boat Parade on Sunday, July 9, 2017!
We are seeking vessels of all types to replicate the original parade of July 4, 1917, including private yachts, government vessels, Native American and working boats of all sizes.
Use the above link for more information on the boat parade and other activities concerning  the centennial.
These two boats were both part of the 1917 boat parade along the ship canal and into Lake Washington. They are expected to take part in this year's event. If you own a boat and would like to participate in the parade, then use the above link to find the application form. Otherwise come out to watch and keep your eyes peeled for some truly historic and unique vessels.
The GloryBe 

The Keewaydin originally the Honey Boy

1917 Participants from the Queen City Yacht Club

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A Tale of Two Carls

The look of the  Chittenden Locks has been greatly influenced by two men. Carl English, who transformed the empty lawns of the grounds into the botanical garden you see today, and Carl Gould, who designed several of the buildings and structures you walk among when you visit the locks. Sara Peterson has researched and written a piece on both of these men and here is an online version. Clicking on these images should give you a larger higher resolution image. Otherwise you can download them to your computer and enlarge them there, or increase your screen display for easier reading.

Carl Gould 

Carl English

In addition, Sara wrote an article which was accepted and posted on and you can find it here.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Roosevelt Returns to the Locks

One hundred years ago, the Ship Canal and Government Locks were officially opened and dedicated, with a days celebration marked by a parade of hundreds of boats led by the  steamer Roosevelt. For any of you who missed the event of July 4 1917, there's a second chance to see the historic ship on display at the Locks. Well, a model of the ship, anyway. After it's successful voyage with Admiral Peary in his polar expedition, it was sold and used as a tug on many world wide trips. Eventually, however, it was badly damaged and was beached to be left to the elements along the Panama Canal. Local craftsman, Clayton Naset, has spent months constructing a marvelous replica of the ship and it is on display in the Administration Building at the Locks, where it will reside for some time. Just another reason to visit the Chittenden Locks.

President's Day Weekend will also feature many other displays and information on activities and resources commemorating the Centennial Anniversary of this historic local waterway and you can find more information here at the Making the Cut's website.

Many of these projects are produced by members of the Making the Cut group, and funding and support has been provided by 4Culture.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

President's Day at the Locks

As part of the years centennial activities comemorating the completion of the Lake Washington Ship Canal and Chittenden Locks, there will be displays and performances open to the public free of charge from Saturday, Feb 18 through Monday, Feb. 20, between the hours of 11:00 am - 4:00 pm. Check out the Administration Building for displays from, Friends of the Ballard Locks, Fremont Historical Society, and Rainier Historical Society

 In addition, Maritime Folknet is presenting a day of local musicians presenting original musical works on various aspects of this 100 year old project. This is a great chance to bring the family for an afternoon of entertainment and perhaps some local history mixed in for good measure. Starting time is noon on Sunday Feb. 19 and here's a link to their website for more info.

These activities are presented by Making The Cut, a group of organizations participating in Centennial events throughout the year. Here's a link to their website for more information and links.

Making The Cut

Much gratitude is due to 4Culture for grants enabling many of these activities and exhibitions.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Touring the Ship Canal

Thanks to support from 4Culture, two cruises aboard the Virginis V were offered to the public. As the year 2017 will mark the Centennial of the formal opening of the Lake Washington Ship Canal and the Chittenden Locks, it is hoped that more of these cruises will be made possible and it will provide an opportunity to participate in events organized to celebrate the anniversary.

Virginia V a 1922 National Historic Landmark vessel.