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

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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Feb. 2 - Anniversary of the First Filling of the Locks

This post was first published in 2018. We've added some new content below the original article. In the article from the Seattle Post Intelligencer it names machinist Carl Sjogren as the individual who actually opened the valves admitting water into the chambers. If there are any descendants of Carl Sjogren who see this post, please send any photos or information you might have of his time at the Chittenden Locks. We'd be happy to add yet more local flavor to this post.

Update

In our own archives we've discovered a group photo where Carl Sjogren can be seen. He's standing in the back row, second from the right. This picture is dated August 1932, for a yet unknown occasion. We've also learned that he started working at the locks in 1912, while they were under construction, until his retirement in 1944. In the 1920 Census he had apparently changed the legal spelling of his name to Seagren. His death occurred in July 1953 in Mount Vernon, an area where he had lived before starting work at the locks. Perhaps the local Nordic community might like to propose that next Feb 2, could be named Carl Sjogren Day, after the machinist who first opened the valves to begin the first filling of the large lock chamber.



 

The large lock was filled for the first time ever. on Feb. 2 1916. There was to be a small celebration to mark the occasion, but as the photos show, a heavy snowstorm put a damper on the occasion. Nevertheless, local dignitaries, and people responsible for this project showed up despite the elements.

At the first filling of the lock.


From the Seattle Times, Feb 3 1916

It took just over a half hour to fill the large lock and credit must be given to the dignitaries who withstood the freezing temperatures for the occasion. Here's some photos from the day we uncovered,

With the dignitaries watching from the far end, the water is seen as it starts to fill the large lock.



Much debris in the lock visible as it fills.

The large lock filled.



Feb 3, the Corps boat Orcas uses the lock.     

 

The following article was added Jan 31, 2023 and mentions Carl Sjogren as the machinist to open the valves admitting water into the large lock for the first time.