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

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Notice to Chittenden Locks marine traffic

We received the following notice concerning the annual closure of the small lock for it's maintenance and inspection procedures. Plan accordingly boaters. And for visitors and tourists, it is still a great time to visit and get a look at what it looks like below the water's surface.

View of a previous pumpout.

A prior pumpout.

Link to Corps new release website:

Chittenden Locks small chamber closing 14 days for annual maintenance

SEATTLE - The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks small chamber will close to marine traffic from noon Friday, April 4, through 7 p.m. Friday, April 18
Crews will conduct maintenance and safety inspections during the small chamber pump out and closure. Foot traffic will not be affected and the large lock will continue around-the-clock operations for vessels. Lock wall staff will get commercial traffic through as quickly as possible.

All pleasure craft will use the large lock, and boaters should be prepared with appropriate equipment and crew. Large lock requirements include long lines and fenders on board. Current locking through information is available at Mariners may experience delays, depending on passage demand.

Most machinery and equipment, including the gates and valves, are original to the 97-year-old facility. The annual closure gives dam safety experts and maintenance staff an opportunity to dry out the chambers for thorough inspections and to make necessary repairs. This routine maintenance is necessary and important in keeping the Chittenden Locks safe and operational as the locks approach their 100-year anniversary.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers owns and operates the Chittenden Locks. The busiest in the nation, nearly 50,000 vessels lock through each year.

For current information about activities at the Locks, visit the Locks' Web site at or follow the Locks on Facebook and Twitter: and

Steven W. Cosgrove
Public Affairs Office
Seattle District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Lake Washington Ship Canal

Map shows the Lake Washington Ship Canal. Photo courtesy of and used with permission.

March 22, 1907, was the date that the Lake Washington Canal Association filed the forms which documented the issuance of $10,000 in capital stock in order to carry out the work of finishing the canal, allowing the transportation of goods from Lake Washington and points inland out through the canal and into Puget Sound. Just the day before, the Association had filed the papers necessary to incorporate themselves into a legal entity. The Association was comprised of John,H. McGraw, Thomas Burke, George A. Virtue, C. E. Remsberg, Roger S. Greene and J.S. Brace. H.A.P. Myers was a notary public for the county and with his signature and the county seal the long sought effort to complete the canal would begin in earnest.