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

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

A View of the Locks Over Time

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: for more information.

Read below the fold and enjoy the pictures.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

A Day at the Locks, Feb.5, 2014

Today at the locks, visitors could expect to see the unexpected as usual. The usual cormorants, grebes, ducks, gulls, herons, squirrels, crows, and pigeons were all in evidence and other species could possibly make an appearance depending on how long one could withstand the frigid temps. With the falling of the leaves, one can easily make out the multitude of heron nests on the south side of the locks.

Avian lookouts

Heron nests on the south side of locks

Along with the wildlife activity there has been some activity in the locks themselves as minor repairs were carried out by navy divers. The large lock was closed for several hours on Tuesday while the work was underway. After completion on the large lock, the divers moved to the small lock for additional work carried out on Tuesday and Wednesday. This is not a typical occurrence but is performed when needed for maintenance or repairs on the locks. Should you lose a camera, watch, or any other item into the lock, it will rest on the lock bottom until the regularly scheduled annual lock draining.

Divers preparing to enter

Along with the other boaters using the locks were two large vessels on their way for their prospective jobs. One was a large fishing boat heading to Alaska, and then there was this NOAA ship headed for Honolulu. Guess which crew had the bigger smiles!