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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Seattle in King County, Washington — The American West (Northwest)
 

Hiram M. Chittenden Locks

Why Are The Locks Needed?

 
 
Hiram M. Chittenden Locks Marker image. Click for full size.
By Marsha A. Matson, July 27, 2015
1. Hiram M. Chittenden Locks Marker
Inscription. When dedicated on July 4, 1917, the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks was the largest navigation facility in North America. During the dedication, the USS Roosevelt - flagship for Commodore Robert Peary's famous 1909 expedition to the North Pole - led a parade of boats through the locks.

The locks control the elevation of the lakes behind the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks. This allows vessels to move back and forth from one water elevation to another. Notice how the water level of Puget Sound is lower than Salmon Bay. Freshwater of Salmon Bay meets the saltwater of Puget Sound at the locks. Depending on tides, there can be a 6-25 foot difference between fresh- and saltwater. We raise and lower water levels in the locks as needed to allow vessels to lock through.

How do the locks work? Using chambers, gates, tunnels and valves, the lockmaster in the control tower opens and closes the large lock. Opening the miter gates allows vessels to enter the lock. The gates close after the vessel enters, creating a chamber. The lockmaster than opens and closes valves, allowing water to flow in and out of the lock through tunnels.

Think of the locks as a boat elevator. Water moves by gravity from a higher to lower level, no pumps are used. The average lockage takes about 7.5 million gallons of freshwater to fill the large lock.
Boats in the Locks image. Click for full size.
By Marsha A. Matson, July 27, 2015
2. Boats in the Locks

 
Location. 47° 40.002′ N, 122° 23.884′ W. Marker is in Seattle, Washington, in King County. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3015 NW 54th St., Seattle WA 98107, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Ballard Avenue Historic District / Ballard City Hall Bell (approx. 0.6 miles away); Ballard Avenue Landmark District Historic Marker Project (approx. 0.6 miles away); Mural at Bergen Place (approx. 0.6 miles away); Seattle Fisherman's Memorial (approx. 1.1 miles away); Lenin in Fremont (approx. 2.4 miles away); The Fremont Troll (approx. 2.6 miles away); Carkeek Park (approx. 3.3 miles away); The First Commercial Monorail in the United States (approx. 3.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Seattle.
 
Also see . . .  U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Seattle District. (Submitted on July 29, 2015, by Marsha A. Matson of Palmetto Bay, Florida.)
 
Categories. Waterways & Vessels
 
Boats entering the Locks image. Click for full size.
By Marsha A. Matson, July 27, 2015
3. Boats entering the Locks
Walking over the spillway to the Locks image. Click for full size.
By Marsha A. Matson, July 27, 2015
4. Walking over the spillway to the Locks
<i> At the Goverment Locks in Seattle, Washington</i> image. Click for full size.
circa 1930
5. At the Goverment Locks in Seattle, Washington
The locks were originally called the Government Locks. Also known as the Ballard Locks, they were renamed after Hiram M. Chittenden, a proponent of the locks, in 1956.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 29, 2015, by Marsha A. Matson of Palmetto Bay, Florida. This page has been viewed 242 times since then and 35 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on July 29, 2015, by Marsha A. Matson of Palmetto Bay, Florida.   5. submitted on July 31, 2015. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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