The wonderful state of Washington turned 125 today! Happy birthday! (Washington became the 42nd state in the United States on November 11, 1889.)
We celebrated with a bottle of Washington wine: the 2009 Cave B XXIV Merlot. It needed to breathe a bit but is drinking wonderfully as I type this post. (We paired it with a big bowl of “pasta:” spaghetti squash, chicken Italian sausage, kale, mushrooms and onions. Now that I think about it, we totally should have made something more “Washington”… Maybe next year!)
Back to Washington. Here are some fun state facts for you Washingtonians (and those out-of-state readers interested in our fine state):
- The state of Washington is the only state to be named after a United States president. Before it became a state, the territory was called Columbia (named after the Columbia River). When it was granted statehood, the name was changed to Washington, supposedly so people wouldn’t confuse it with The District of Columbia.
- Seattle is home to the first revolving restaurant, 1961. (The Space Needle)
- Washington state produces more apples than any other state in the union.
- Washington state has more glaciers than the other 47 contiguous states combined and eighty percent of the glacial ice in the contiguous U.S is found in Washington State. (We love you, Alaska!)
- Everett is the site of the world’s largest building, Boeing’s final assembly plant
- The oldest operating gas station in the United States is in Zillah.
- Washington’s state insect is the Green Darner Dragonfly.
- Washington’s state gem is petrified wood (We have a piece at home!)
- The world’s first soft-serve ice cream machine was located in an Olympia Dairy Queen.
- Starbucks, the biggest coffee chain in the world was founded in Seattle.
- Puget Sound’s many islands are served by the largest ferry fleet in the United States.
- The forests of the Olympic Peninsula are among the rainiest places in the world and the only rainforests (such as the Hoh Rain Forest) in the continental United States
- The percentage of non-religious people in Washington is the highest of any state, and church membership is among the lowest of all states.
- United Airlines was originally owned by the Boeing Airplane Company.
- Popular games Pictionary, Pickle-ball, and Cranium were all invented in Washington.
- Famous Washingtonians include: John Elway (football great and Brandon’s hero), Macklemore (musician), Ryan Lewis (musician/producer), Bob Barker (TV host), Ray Charles (singer/musician), Fred Couples (golf), Bing Crosby (actor/singer), Bill Gates (Microsoft Founder), Jimi Hendrix (guitarist), Quincy Jones (music producer), Gary Larson (cartoonist), Kenny Loggins (singer), Steve Miller (musician), Ahmad Rashad (football & TV host), and Adam West (actor).
- Washington’s state motto is Al-Ki (Indian word meaning “by and by” — Also a neighborhood in West Seattle!)
- We have six National Forests and 215 State Parks.
- Washington is number one in the country in the production of hops, apples, pears, red raspberries, spearmint oil, and sweet cherries.
- Washington has over 1,000 dams, including the Grand Coulee Dam, the largest dam in the United States that my Grandpa helped build!
- Up to 5,000 wild horses roam the Yakima Indian Reservation.
- Washington is home to four of the five longest floating bridges in the world: the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge, Lacey V. Murrow Memorial Bridge and Homer M. Hadley Bridge over Lake Washington, and the Hood Canal Bridge connecting the Olympic and Kitsap Peninsulas.
- Seattle was the first city in the world to pump Muzak into stores and offices.
- Seattle was the first American city to put police on bicycles.
- Washington is a leading lumber producer. Its rugged surface is rich in stands of Douglas fir, hemlock (the state tree!), ponderosa and white pine, spruce, larch, and cedar.
Read more about Washington and our state symbols here.
Happy birthday, Washington!!