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

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Monday, August 2, 2010

Bebb & Gould Plaque

Excerpted from the Friends of the Ballard Locks website. For full article, see: Administration Building Plaque: Bebb & Gould & Molten Metal.  

Recently, we discovered some background information about the artist who sculpted the original artwork for this plaque. We'll include that here at the beginning of the original article posted back in 2010.

Gary Westwood

A self-trained visual artist, Gary Westwood had a hand in many iconic images of the 1980s, including the Puyallup Fair mascot (a wearable pig’s head made of latex), a panda head and boots for the Kent Police Department’s mascot, a wax caricature of famed sportscaster Wayne Cody for the promotional “Watch Wayne Disappear” diet campaign, and the crab legs worn by singing waiters in a commercial for the Sea Galley restaurant (available on YouTube!).

Westwood’s work on the plaque was more solemn. His daughter, Tisha ValWes, recalls that the two of them visited the raptor exhibit at Woodland Park Zoo to photograph and sketch the eagles resulting in the majestic bird that spreads its wings at the top of the tablet. Westwood also created most of the other elements of the plaque, sculpting them in clay before the images were cast in bronze.

... the following was the original post from 2010 ...

Although originally designed by Bebb & Gould in their plan for the locks buildings and grounds, it was not until 1985 that the Plaque on the East side of the Administration Building was completed. You may have visited the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks many times and observed the plaque, but not know its story. The plaque shown above is attached to the east side exterior wall of the administration building. Although work on the original ship canal buildings and grounds, designed by the firm of Bebb & Gould, was completed in 1922, the plaque was not created until 1985. When the locks underwent an $8 million rehabilitation from 1982 to 1985, the Corps rediscovered the original design drawings for the plaque and decided to have the work completed. The design of the plaque is rich in symbolism including: 1. The Eagle, emblem of the United States, used by the Corps of Engineers in its Coat-of-Arms. 2. The French term “Essayons” which is the motto of the Corps and means “let us try”. 3. The Castle, the symbol of the Corps of Engineers since 1839. The plaque was dedicated in a ceremony in August of 1985 commemorating the rehabilitation project. Completed nearly 70 years after opening of the locks, the plaque looks to the future with a commitment to continuing service to the public. Excerpted from the Friends of the Ballard Locks website. For full article, see: Administration Building Plaque: Bebb & Gould & Molten Metal.

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