Book Release — Waterway: The Story of Seattle’s Locks and Ship Canal

Why does a city surrounded by water need another waterway? Find out what drove Seattle’s civic leaders to pursue the dream of a Lake Washington Ship Canal for more than 60 years and what role that canal has played in the region’s development over the past century. Historians Jennifer Ott and David Williams, author of Too High and Too Steep: Reshaping Seattle’s Topography, explore how industry, transportation, and the very character of the city and surrounding region developed in response to the economic and environmental changes brought about by Seattle’s canal and locks.

Order your copy now here.

Boat Parade!

July 4, 1917 marked the official opening of the Ballard Locks. On that day the SS Roosevelt passed through the Locks and led a marine parade of commercial and pleasure craft through the Ship Canal to Lake Union and Lake Washington.

On July 9, 2017, we will commemorate this historic event by re-creating that parade. The historic schooner Adventuress will pass through the locks and lead a marine parade of historic vessels from Salmon Bay into Lake Union as far as Lake Union Park.

10:00 a.m. Activities begin at 10 a.m., leading up to the Adventuress transiting the Locks west to east. The Adventuress, standing in for the SS Roosevelt – the first large ocean-going vessel to transit the Locks west to east – will enter the large lock at approximately 10:15 am.

11:00 a.m. As the Adventuress enters the Ship Canal at the east end of the Locks passage, she will be joined by vessels of all types and sizes, including two – Glory Be and Keewaydin (the former Honey Boy) – that were in the first Locks boat parade. There will be an estimated 50 registered boats in the parade.

12:00 p.m. The parade will end at South Lake Union at approximately noon, where the Adventuress will be moored at the north wall at Lake Union Park. There will be docent historians and printed information at several official viewing spots.

New parade information will be announced via the Facebook event page: Facebook event page

Look for members of the Ballard Historical Society creating a living diorama at the Ballard Locks from 10:00 – 2:00 on parade day! Members will be in costumes that might have been worn 100 years ago.

Viewing spots

Suggested viewing spots for the parade are as follows:

Seattle Parks:
11th Ave NW Street-end park (on the Ballard side of the Ship Canal)
Roanoke St. Mini-Park, 1 E. Roanoke St., peek-a-boo view of Lake Union
Lynn St. Mini-Park, 2291 Fairview Ave E; view of Lake Union between the houseboats
Lake Union Park, south end of Lake Union

Other locations:
Evanston Avenue (one block west of Fremont Ave)
Along the Fremont Cut between the area under the Aurora Bridge west to 2nd NW
Burke-Gilman Trail (various spots); roaming docents
In front of 2 Nickerson on the canal
The Ballard Bridge approaches

Note that Gasworks Park will be closed for a private event (See Jane Run Marathon).

On-street parking is available near most of these locations but we strongly recommend arriving on foot, by public transportation or by bicycle. Most marinas with a view of the Ship Canal or Lake Union have locked gates with entry available only to their tenants, we ask you please respect those.

These events are free and open to the public, all ages welcome.

For more information contact

Dancing for a View

Family-friendly Dance to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks. Proceeds will benefit the restoration of the Fish Ladder Viewing Area. Come and enjoy the gardens, the sunset, food vendors, mocktails, and more! Bring a picnic! We are encouraging period dress a la Downtown Abbey. Music provided by Sunga Rose & Her Rhythm Percolators. Dance demonstration by Century Ballroom. This event is free; there will be an opportunity to donate to the fish ladder project or participate in a raffle.

Read all about it on our flyer: Locks Flyer with Sunga and Century Ballroom (1)

“For $2 a Day: Building the Ballard Locks”

Susan Connole of Friends of the Ballard Locks will share stories and photos of how the Locks were built, in honor of the Centennial anniversary, at the Ballard Public Library, Thursday, June 29. Free and open to the public.

Exhibit: The Sawmills of Salmon Bay and the Ship Canal

This exhibit features drawings, maps, and other records from the King County Archives, with photographs from the Seattle Municipal Archives. The majority of the materials in the exhibit were created to document the anticipated impact of the raising of the water level along the shore of Salmon Bay. The exhibit offers a glimpse at the workings of early 20th Century sawmills and the life of the workers who ran them. It touches on the history of Ballard’s mills, labor issues of the time, and the impact of the canal on Ballard’s Shingletown.

The exhibit is mounted in the underground pedestrian tunnel between the King County Courthouse and the Administration Building in downtown Seattle, Mondays through Fridays, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Please note, the pedestrian tunnel is closed on weekends.

An expanded version of the exhibit is now available online.

Celebrating 100 Years of Community Gardening

Enjoy gardening displays and information from the Carl S. English Botanical Garden, local gardens and garden clubs.

Photo, the Carl S. English Botanical Garden in 1940. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Fremont Historical Society Talk – Waterway: The Story of Seattle’s Locks and Ship Canal

Jennifer Ott, co-author with David B. Williams of Waterway: The Story of Seattle’s Locks and Ship Canal, will share some of the stories they uncovered in their research about the decades of false starts, the political shenanigans, and far-reaching social, economic, and environmental impacts of the canal’s construction and operation. This talk is presented in conjunction with the Fremont Historical Society’s exhibit “From Ross Creek to Ship Canal,” at the Fremont Public Library. (Photo: Fremont Dam Wash-out)

The Chittenden Locks Centennial 5K Run

Show your centennial spirit with a brisk 5K walk or run. Registration is now open at RUN.
Early-bird registration $35.00 through March 31;
$40 from April 1 through May 6;
$50 on May 7th.

Free Kids Dash for ages ten and under.