Hiram M. Chittenden

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Hiram Martin Chittenden
Hiram M. Chittenden, 1916
Born (1858-10-25)October 25, 1858
Yorkshire, New York
Died October 9, 1917(1917-10-09) (aged 58)
Seattle, Washington
Education West Point
Engineering career
Significant projects Chittenden Memorial Bridge, Grand Loop Road Historic District, Roosevelt Arch, Chittenden Locks

Hiram Martin Chittenden (1858–1917) was a leading historian of the American West, especially the fur trade. A graduate of West Point, he was the Seattle district engineer for the Army Corps of Engineers (April 1906 – September 1908) for whom the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Seattle, Washington, were named.

He was one of the first three elected Port Commissioners at the Port of Seattle. He also helped found the Pacific Coast Association of Port Authorities (PCAPA), later known as the Association of Pacific Ports (APP) in 1913.

Dodds says, "His works on the Yellowstone, the fur trade, and on Missouri River steamboating were long recognized as definitive....His style was formal, clear, and undramatic. His works contain a mass of detail. He was typical of the Progressive era of American history in his strong belief in progress and in 'the divine mission of the Anglo-Saxon.'"[1]

Early life

Chittenden was born on October 25, 1858 in Yorkshire, New York. He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in June 1884 and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers. After advanced study in applied engineering, his tours of duty were mainly in the West, including two in Yellowstone Park (1891–93, 1899-1904). Yellowstone sparked his lifelong interest in history and conservation.

He reached the rank of Brigadier General in 1910. He died on October 9, 1917 in Seattle, Washington.[2]

Engineering projects

With the Army Corps of Engineers, Chittenden was in charge of many notable projects throughout the United States:


His 1902 history of the fur trade has been highly influential among historians of the West.[3]


Chittenden is best known as a scholar with historical volumes, tour guides, and poetry:

See also


  1. Gordon B. Dodds, "A Dedication to the Memory of Hiram Martin Chittenden, 1858-1917," Arizona and the West (1963) 5#3 pp 182-186
  2. Leslie M. Scott (March 1918). "News and Comment-Death of Hiram M. Chittenden". The Quarterly of the Oregon Historical Society. Oregon Historical Society. 19 (1): 73–87.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Dodds, 1961
  • Dodds, Gordon B. "Hiram Martin Chittenden, Historian," Pacific Historical Review (1961) 30#3 pp. 257–269 in JSTOR
  • Dodds, Gordon B. "A Dedication to the Memory of Hiram Martin Chittenden, 1858-1917," Arizona and the West (1963) 5#3 pp 182–186
  • Morgan, Dale L. "The Fur Trade and its Historians," Minnesota History, (1966) 10#4 pp 151–156,
  • Walker, Don D. "Philosophical and Literary Implications in the Historiography of the Fur Trade," Western American Literature, (1974) 9#2 pp 79–104
  • Le Roy, Bruce, ed. (1961). H.M. Chittenden-A Western Epic-Being a Selection from his unpublished Journals, Diaries and Reports. Tacoma, Wa: Washington State Historic Society.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links