A Look at The Ballard Locks After 100 Years

Last Sunday, July 9th, the city turned out to celebrate the Ballard Locks’ 100th anniversary with a boat parade. This facility, officially called the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, has been an essential part of Seattle’s infrastructure, in addition to playing a key part in our city’s modern development.

The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks and Lake Washington Ship Canal were formally opened in July 1917, named after a U.S. Army Major who served as the Seattle District Engineer for the Corps from April 1906 until September 1908. They were built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, designed to be a commercial navigation route that would preserve salmon habitats and migration routes and also prevent further displacement of Native American people in the area.

By opening the local waterways to maritime commerce, the Locks played a key part of making Seattle the major port city it has become. “The waterway provided a route for boats to bring cargo to and from the region, from oil and steel to hats and coats, and to push and pull tons of logs into Lake Washington from logging camps around Puget Sound. And many new maritime businesses also opened on the shores of Lake Union and Salmon Bay, including boatbuilders, sawmills and William Boeing’s first seaplane factory,” a Seattle Magazine article reported.

The Ballard Locks have two locks of different sizes, a spillway to facilitate water level control, and a fish ladder to support fish migration, primarily salmon. Its grounds include a visitors center and the Carl S. English, Jr. Botanical Gardens.

Today, the locks serve three primary purposes:

  1. Maintain the fresh water level of Lake Union and Lake Washington at 20-22 feet above sea level.
  2. Prevent saltwater intrusion (sea water mixing with fresh water) from Puget Sound into the lakes.
  3. Safely and efficiently transport boats between the two different water levels.

According to the locks website, the Ballard Locks transports more than 40,000 vessels each year, making them the busiest locks in the entire U.S. Both commercial and recreational vessels can navigate through the locks 24 hours each day (except during maintenance). In addition to boats and ships, the Locks support a significant salmon migration totalling more than 100,000 salmon each season. The site is a National Historic Site (added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978) as well as a local icon, which attracts more than 1.3 million visitors each year. Passage through the Locks, visitor entry and guided tours, and even summer concerts on the grounds are all free of charge.

Perhaps most importantly, the Ballard Locks is essential infrastructure whose activity provides $1.2 billion to the economy each year and supports thousands of jobs.

However, this critical facility is in need of significant repairs due to age. The Corps of Engineers is working on the major repairs to ancient machinery, closure systems and more. But the necessary upgrades to the visitor education facilities needs public support. Click here to find out how you can help!

Featured photo source: nws.usace.army.mil

10 Places to Wine, Dine and Celebrate in Ballard and Beyond This Summer

Summer in Seattle is in full swing, and that means warmer weather and 16-hour days are upon us. When the sun is shining and weather is warm, most Seattleites make the most of it by spending as much time outdoors as possible. If you fall in that category and outdoor dining is your calling, our city also has a lot to offer in terms of outdoor restaurants, rooftop venues, and more. If you’re trying to maximize your time spend outside this summer with some great places to celebrate, here are some places to try.

Bars and Breweries

Seattle has enough bars and breweries to keep you busy for a while. Some quality establishments to put in your summer dining bucket list include:

Peddler Brewing Company

This bike-friendly microbrewery and tasting room is a real treat in the summer. With a spacious outdoor seating area in the heart of Ballard equipped with eleven beers on tap and rotational cider, corn hole and other games, and permanent food trucks in their beer garden, it’s hard to beat a summer evening spent at Peddler Brewing Company.

Kings Hardware

Kings Hardware is a great Ballard hub for food and drinks. Their extensive menu features a variety of dining options, signature cocktails, and a variety of beer on tap. Their garden-like  outdoor seating area is a fun place to spend lunch, happy hour, or cocktail area.

Fremont Brewing Company

Slightly outside of Ballard but worth the extra ten minutes, Fremont Brewing Company is home to one of Seattle’s favorite outdoor beer gardens. This brewery features a wide variety of signature and rotating beers on tap that will suit beer lovers of all kinds.

Naked City Brewery and Taphouse

If you’re looking for a great place in Greenwood for a beer and a meal, Naked City is the place to be. With a robust menu of food and snacks and dozens of beers on tap, this place is hard to beat. Their outdoor Walrus Beer Garden is a great place to spend an afternoon happy hour in the Greenwood sunshine. They also have a new location on Camano Island!

Restaurants

Ballard and surrounding neighborhoods have no shortage of great restaurants as well. Some fun places to try include:

Ballard Loft

If burgers, beer, and creative appetizers are your calling, Ballard Loft is the place for you. This casual establishment in the heart of Ballard is perfect for lunch, drinks, dinner, or all of the above.

El Camion

If you’re looking for quality and large quantities of Mexican food at a great price, you can’t beat El Camion. With their restaurant in Ballard and several food trucks throughout the city, this place offers tasty food and pleasant outdoor seating area. Don’t miss their summertime sangria!

 

Bastille

If you’re looking for a great menu and a bit of a higher end dining experience, Bastille is your place. This restaurant features a great array of French and Mediterranean fusion from farm to table. You’ll come for the food and stay for the rooftop garden!

Parties and Private Venues

If you’re planning a party this summer or scoping out locations for big events next year, some great places to celebrate include:

Olympic Rooftop Pavilion

The Olympic Rooftop Pavilion is hard to beat for summertime parties and events. With seating for up to 100 guests and a great view of our city, this is a great spot for parties, weddings, and celebrations of all kinds. They also offer deals with Seattle’s Hotel Ballard if you have guests coming from out of town for your celebration.

Frolik Kitchen and Cocktails

Frolik Kitchen and Cocktails is a great place to celebrate occasions of all time. This trendy venue is great for an evening out on the town and private parties alike.

Woodinville Lavender Gardens

About 30 minutes out of Seattle but well worth the drive, Woodinville Lavender Gardens can be reserved for weddings, parties and more. This rustic venue is a beautiful backdrop for celebrations large and small.

Beautiful Broadview Home

Beautiful Broadview Home

Beautiful Broadview Home

This home for sale is available for the first time in Llandover by the Sound. It rests on 3.3 acres and has incredible westerly views Of Puget Sound, Olympic Mountains, Islands, and Sunsets. It is a mid-century modern home built of solid concrete with wrap around view terraces and huge walls of glass. Outside there is a lovely pond, stream, and woods on magical property.  There is also an incredible 40x 60 foot concrete building that could easily house10 cars, with crane and 22ft ceilings.  There is a trail leading to the beach and the adjacent. 1.5 acre lot is also currently listed for sale.