Hiram M Chittenden Locks

Seattle, Washington

3015 NW 54th St

Lake Washington is the large lake that forms the eastern boundary of Seattle. Originally it drained out to the Pacific Ocean via the Black and Duwamish Rivers, but this course was not suitable for shipping. Ship canals were created through the Montlake and Fremont areas of Seattle, connecting Lake Washington to Lake Union and Lake Union to Salmon and Shilshole Bays and to Puget Sound beyond.

Lake Washington and Lake Union are freshwater lakes, and both are 20 feet or more above Puget Sound. In order to keep saltwater from the Sound from entering the lakes and to raise and lower ships traveling between Puget Sound and inland destination, the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks were completed in 1916.

There are actually two locks, one 30 feet wide, and the other 80 feet wide. A spillway helps to manage the water level of the lakes. A fish ladder helps to facilitate the migration of salmon between the ocean and rivers upstream of the lakes. A visitor center provides information about the locks - and windows into the fish ladder so visitors can watch the migrating salmon. There is also a botanical garden at the site.


seattle hiram m chittenden locks

Chittenden Locks (Z03A0005)


seattle hiram m chittenden locks fish ladder

Chittenden Locks Fish Ladder (Z03A0006)
Windows provide views into the waters of the fish ladder, so visitors can watch as salmon struggle to swim upstream.

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