The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, sometimes referred to as the Ballard Locks, are located right within the city limits of Seattle. It sits on the Lake Washington Ship Canal and sees watercraft of all sizes go through its gates. The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks are also home to a small dam and spillway. It attracts people all year long who go there to view the fish ladders, fish viewing windows, ship traffic, spillway, and surrounding cityscapes.
Fun Facts About Hiram M. Chittenden Locks
-The two neighborhoods that border the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks are Ballard to the north and Magnolia to the south.
-More boat traffic goes through the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks than any other locks in the entire United States.
-When the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks were completed, the surface of Lake Washington was lowered 8.8 feet.
-The first ship to pass through the locks did so on August 3rd, 1916. The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks wouldn’t open to boat traffic until May 8, 1917.
-With the opening of the canal to boat traffic, three bridges had to be removed to make way for the height of the floating traffic below. Eventually, these bridges would be replaced by the Ballard and Freemont Bridges that were completed in 1917, University Bridge in 1919, and Montlake Bridge in 1925.
-The Lake Washington Ship Canal project, of which the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks are a part of, was declared complete in 1934.
-The locks are named after US Army Major Hiram M. Chittenden who was the Seattle District Engineer for the Corps of Engineers from 1906 to 1908.
-1978 saw the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks added to the National Register of Historic Places.
-There are actually two separate locks, one small and one larger, in use at the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks. At different times of the year, they are each drained for two weeks to allow for inspection and maintenance.