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

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Virginia V & Mohai Canal Cruise with Friends of the Ballard Locks

Thanks to a grant from 4 Culture the second cruise on the 1922 wooden steamship, the Virginia V (five), took place Sun. Aug 14,  with narration provided by Friends of the Ballard Locks, Mohai, and a representative for the Virginia V Foundation. This was the second sold out cruise and due to the success of both cruises, further cruises are being considered for the 2017 calendar year as part of the Making the Cut celebrations acknowledging the Centennial of the Lake Washington Ship Canal and Chittenden Locks.
 Here are a few pics of the recent trip. The weather was beautiful, the vessel traffic was heavy so plan on bringing your patience if you join us next year.

Virgina V

With Mount Rainier in distance

Here's a link to our facebook page for more images.


 Many groups are involved with many different projects which will be occurring this and next year. There will be a group effort to mark some of the original lake border on Aug 28. Here's some info on that:
 Making the Cut: The Locks, The Lakes, and a Century of Change

Chalk it up!
Mark your calendars for the following "happening!"
Drawing the Line: A Temporary Tracing of Lake Washington’s Historical Shoreline
Sunday, August 28th, 2016
10 am – 4 pm
Lake Washington Boulevard (approximately), between Mount Baker Rowing and Sailing Center and Seward Park
A hundred years ago this summer, the Montlake Cut was completed, and Lake Washington began to flow out into Lake Union (and then to Puget Sound, via the Ballard Locks). By October of 1916, Lake Washington was nine feet lower, and a whole lot of places that had been underwater no longer were. On August 28th (Bicycle Sunday), local historian and artist Mikala Woodward be temporarily reviving this vanished landscape, by walking the former shoreline with a field chalker. The journey will begin at the Mount Baker Rowing & Sailing Center at 10 am and wind up at Seward Park in the early afternoon. The chalk line is non-toxic and will last 3-5 days. A handout explaining the project and the history behind it will be available at info stations along the route. Many thanks to Amir Sheikh and the Waterlines Project for historical mapping, and to 4culture for a generous Heritage Project grant. For more information please contact Mikala Woodward at mikalawoodward AT gmail DOT com.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Where are these boats now?

On July 4, 1917 the Government Locks were officially opened and the event was marked by a great celebration highlighted by a parade of some 200 vessels led by the Roosevelt. Many local yacht clubs participated in the days festivities and some of the boats taking part in the display are still sailing, some in local waters. How many more are out there? Any information can be directed to:

The newspaper photo at right shows the Roosevelt as it travels along the ship canal followed by the other vessels. An early plane built by Bill Boeing is seen passing overhead to the delight and amazement of the crowds lining the grounds on either side of the canal.

Where are they now?

With the centennial of the Locks coming up in 2017, the Friends of the Ballard Locks is seeking information on the whereabouts or history of the boats taking part in that ship canal dedication parade in 1917.

photo from Bainbridge Island Historical Museum

The Honey Boy in its early days on left. The currently named Keewaydin, as it appears around Lake Union today below.

photo provided by owners Todd and Megan

The Glorybe is still around and has been lovingly restored. photo from

List of Queen City Yacht Club participants in the 1917 celebrations.

Find a list of known boats below the fold.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Making The Cut Website goes online

Thanks to a grant from 4 Culture, a new website has been launched with the goal of providing links to ongoing events commemorating the Centennial Anniversary of the Lake Washington Ship Canal and the Chittenden Locks. Over the next year, there will be a myriad of activities highlighting various aspects of the water way and how it affected Seattle and surrounding cities.

Many thanks to Stephen Schildbach for the design and creation of the site.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Aug 3, 1916 The Informal Opening of the Locks

Orcas in foreground, Swimomish in background.

For those of you who weren't here 100 years ago, here's some pictures of the informal opening of the Chittenden locks, then called the Government Locks, which was marked by the Swinomish and the Orcas, making the journey from Salmon Bay, through the large lock, out into Puget Sound and immediately back again. A crowd of over 1,000 attended the event and here follows a description written by Susan Connole of the event.

"August 3 is an important centennial anniversary in the history of the Chittenden locks, on that day in 1916 an informal celebration took place to commemorate the start of commercial operations.
Crowds gathered at 10 a.m. that morning to watch two government vessels make a ceremonial passage through the locks. The work boat "Swinomish" and the survey launch "Orcas" entered from the east, were lowered to Puget Sound, turned around under the Great Northern railroad bridge and returned upstream to Salmon Bay. On the "Swinomish" were Lt. Col. J.B. Cavanaugh, Army engineer who had supervised locks construction, Judge Roger S. Greene, who had fought for a canal for years, and Judge Thomas Burke, Chamber of Commerce president. Also on board were H.C. Gill, mayor of Seattle, A.W. Sargent, assistant engineer to Cavanaugh, and representatives of the Chamber, the Commercial Club, Seattle Port Commission, and other civic dignitaries. On board the "Orcas" were the wives and families of the engineers who worked on the canal project.
During that first month of operation 1,558 vessels went through the locks in 1,134 lockages. Most of the traffic was wood products- logs, lumber, shingles, etc.- but tugs, fishing boats, and sand and gravel barges, were part of the traffic. Three sailboats went through the locks that month."

Swimomish in Lock, Engineer A.W Sargeant, and Col. J.B.Cavanaugh (standing). Seattle Times Aug 3, 1916 

Seattle Times Aug 3,1916

 All photos are courtesy of the U.S Army Corps of Engineers except where noted.