Hiram M. Chittenden
|Hiram Martin Chittenden|
Hiram M. Chittenden, 1916
October 25, 1858|
Yorkshire, New York
|Died||October 9, 1917
|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.'"
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.
With the Army Corps of Engineers, Chittenden was in charge of many notable projects throughout the United States:
- Yellowstone National Park (1891-1892, 1899-1906): roadwork, improvements, basalt arch at north entrance, single span bridge (Chittenden Memorial Bridge, formerly the Melan arch bridge) across the Yellowstone River.
- Yosemite National Park: commissioned by the Secretary of the Interior to determine boundary changes
- Lake Washington Canal Project, Seattle, Washington (1906)
His 1902 history of the fur trade has been highly influential among historians of the West.
Chittenden is best known as a scholar with historical volumes, tour guides, and poetry:
- The Yellowstone National Park, Cincinnati: Stewart & Kidd Company, 1895.
- Chittenden, Hiram Martin (1902). The American fur trade of the far West: a history of the pioneer trading posts and early fur companies of the Missouri valley and the Rocky mountains and the overland commerce with Santa Fe .... F.P. Harper. (Three volumes)
- Chittenden, Hiram Martin (1903). History of early steamboat navigation on the Missouri river: life and adventures of Joseph La Barge .... F. P. Harper. (Two volumes)
- Life and Letters of Father de Smet’ with A. T. Richardson, 1905. (Four volumes)
- War or Peace, 1910.
- Chittenden, Hiram Martin (1915). The Yellowstone national park: historical and descriptive .... Stewart & Kidd company.
- Verse, Seattle: Holly Press, 1916. (poetry)
- Gordon B. Dodds, "A Dedication to the Memory of Hiram Martin Chittenden, 1858-1917," Arizona and the West (1963) 5#3 pp 182-186
- 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.
- 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.
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