Meet the guy who runs Ballard’s boat elevator

THE NEIGHBORHOOD: Ballard

THE PERSON: Larry Meyer, lockmaster of the Ballard Locks

THE STORY: What do you get when you combine a fish ladder, a botanical garden, and a bunch of boats? The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks – also known as the Ballard Locks. And you can find one person at the center of it all. As it turns out, he’s got a pretty neat view (and job title). Lockmaster Larry Meyer spends most days of the week perched in the control center of the Ballard Locks, raising and lowering the water level so boats can safely travel between Puget Sound and Lake Union. It’s about a 20-foot difference in elevation between the two bodies of water, and Meyer has helped nearly every type of vessel, including kayaks and cargo ships, pass safely through. But the Locks aren’t just for skippers – they’re also a great place to meet family and friends for a picnic.   

QUOTABLE: “I used to come down here as a kid… never dreamt I’d get a job here,” Larry says.

FUN FACT: Carl S. English started the botanical garden at the Locks. With the help of ship captains passing through the locks, he collected plant species from around the world.

CHECK IT OUT: With all the sun we’ve had lately in Seattle, it’s only a matter of time before the botanical garden down at the Locks is in full bloom. Looking for a deeper dive? Free guided tours of the Locks and garden happen every day at 1 p.m.   

By Eric Keto
Eric is a video producer based in Seattle, Washington.