|Early shot of the Government Locks|
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has an extensive archival research collection available to the public. It includes primary documents, publication clippings, books reports and over 8,000 photographs which have been scanned and digitized by volunteers. The archive is open by appointment only. While items cannot be checked out, they can be viewed and studied at the locks. The earliest photographs date back to 1899, include many of the locks during construction, and continue through the '90's, with scenes of historic interest as well as images depicting the day to day operations at the locks.
Below are a small sample of images which are in the collection. Some of these images are actually in slide format and may or may not have a corresponding photo. Currently we do not have viewing equipment for the slide collection.
If you are interested in viewing the archive, or researching the stories behind any of these images, or any other aspect of the locks or Carl English Garden history, please contact Susan Connole at: email@example.com for more information.
A visit to the Ballard locks can bring many an unexpected viewing experience. Here are some examples of unusual sightings over the years. Many of these are topics which will be further researched and used for a more complete telling of the story.
Although boats transiting the locks are not unusual, there have been vessels not seen very often. Below are some examples of the more notable examples.
You may see the lock filled with dozens of boats locking through at once as in this photo. This was most likely an Opening Day parade. A great spectacle for the viewers and an opportunity to practice patience for the boaters.
Or you may see them squeeze one large boat through. Here is one of our NOAA vessels
from July 1, 1978.
|White Sands dry dock starting a 4 hour transit through the locks|
Or they may squeeze even tighter to get an 81' drydock through the 80' wide large lock.
"S.S. Atkins" at U.S. Government Locks, side view from off bow, showing port side construction of cabin rails and upper deck structure. This was taken 14 Oct 1942, which would have been during WWll. Was this vessel brought in for repairs and then sent off to war?
US Navy Destroyer, tugboat, Deborah Foss, large lock
U.S. Submarine TITLEFISH in large lock 17 March 1947.
June, 1985 Russian sub
Some Tall Ships
|Our native salmon...|
|...which attracts non-native sea lions.|
|From Seattle Times June 16, 1981|
|A rare visit from a whale|
|Squid found during lock inspection|
Commercial uses, past and present.
At least two float planes have been through the locks. One was an emergency landing we are attempting to document further and another which seemed to have been a planned transit possibly to perform repairs.
|Feb. 1947 emergency landing|
|More orderly, but still unusual, plane locking|
Other unusual mishaps in the locks.
|From Seattle PI. Reprint is on view upstairs in the Visitor's Center|
|Car being lifted out of lock|
|First car to take the plunge|
Followed by ...
|Less than a week later.|
There have been other notable mishaps.
|Raising tugboat "Annie W" from the drink.|
|Aleutian Lady with nowhere to go.|
Inspection and maintenance
|Annual lock inspection and maintenance|
|Replacing the lock gates.|
|Large lock gate being raised into position.|
|Occasionally divers are needed for inspection and repairs.|
Some more oddities.
|USAF plane heading for repairs after accident.|
|From the Seattle PI|
|Sometimes moving house is actually moving the house.|
|Photo taken from Adam Woog's book which contains some history and many other photos of the locks.|
These are a sampling of the many photos which are in the archive. The stories behind all these photos are a part of what the Friends of the Ballard Locks are focused on. We invite all who are interested in volunteering, to be a part of our group and help us make the background available to others. Please contact Susan Connole for more information.
All photos, except as noted, are property of U.S Army Corps of Engineers and are used here with permission
Other sources used in post
The Ballard Locks by Adam Woog