Chittenden Locks nearing 100 years of service

Published Aug. 1, 2016
Hiram M. Chittenden Locks Centennial Logo

Hiram M. Chittenden Locks Centennial Logo

SEATTLE – A hundred years ago today, Aug. 3, 1916, the first vessel officially locked through the Government Locks in Seattle.

The U.S. Engineering Department workboat Orcas made trial lockages in the large lock in February 1916 and small lock in July 1916. An informal opening celebration was held August 3 and the official dedication for the Lake Washington Ship Canal and now called Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Ballard was held July 4, 1917.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials, Tribes, local groups and communities are already planning events in 2017 to observe the official opening. “The Corps plans on beginning the festivities in January,” said Seattle District Project Manager Capt. Jake Lueders.

The Corps and its partner Discover Your Northwest are planning, or working with other groups to plan:

  • 5k run

  • Boat parade

  • Special certificates for locking through

  • Time-period concert

  • Documentary film series “Legacy of the Locks & Lake Washington Ship Canal”

  • Maritime folk song writing contest

  • Historical displays

For more about the history of the Locks, view the first episode of the documentary series, Centennial Kickoff, on the Seattle District’s youtube channel at http://tinyurl/BallardLocks100Kickoff. The video is also available on, a group of organizations, institutions and individuals working to commemorate the canal, locks and lowering of Lake Washington.

The district is also planning daily events for the July 4, 2017, Centennial Week. If any individuals or groups are interested in participating, or sponsoring events throughout the year please contact Lueders at, or Public Affairs Officer Bill Dowell at

Bill Dowell

Release no. 16-028