83 Interesting Facts About Washington

Last updated on May 13th, 2024

Washington is the 13th most populous and the 18th most extensive of the 50 states of the United States. It is in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. The state attained statehood on November 11, 1889, becoming the 42nd State to join the union. Its two bordering states are Idaho and OregonSee the complete list of the 50 states and their borders here. Washington (nicknamed: Evergreen State, State of Love and Trust) has 39 counties. The state’s capital is OlympiaThe abbreviation for Washington is WA.

Facts about Washington

1. The name of the nation’s capital “Washington D.C.” may confuse some with “Washington State.” To avoid this, the name of the state was to be changed and instead the territory was to be named Tacoma. However, the proposal failed to garner support, and the name remains unchanged.

2. Many people may not know this, but Washington happens to be the only state in the US that took its name from its past President. The locals pride themselves on the name itself. Yes, it also happens to be the first President of the United StatesGeorge Washington. He served as the president of the country between 1789 and 1797. He has also been called the “Father of America.” The state also has a city named George.

Washington State on the map with other U.S states
Washington (in red) on the map with bordering states.

3. The Yakama Indians are original people of the Northwest. They live in Washington State. Yakama Indians from the region, in the past, carried their babies on their backs using a cradleboard. This custom has now been adopted by many American parents.

4. “Seattle” was named after the Indian leader “Sealth.”

5. Arctic, a town in Washington State was supposed to be named Arta, but it was misread and the name Arctic was registered.

6. Washington is the second most populous state in the west coast and in the western United States after California.

7. Natural calamity can strike anywhere, and there have been places where natural disasters are too many. Luckily, Washington is one of those places that never had any major natural disasters. However, other locations may also be safe when it comes to natural disasters. What is so fascinating about Washington? Well, you may find it hard to believe, but ten volcanoes surround Washington. Luckily for the residents, none of these have ever erupted and will stay calm according to forecasts. However, the state is prone to disaster from flooding. 

Washington on the map

 

8. It may come as a surprise while moving inside Washington; there is a place where you have to cross another country to get an entry into a particular site. Point Roberts is a part of the state that lies at Tsawwassen Penninsula, which is in the south of Vancouver.

9. A fascinating name you will come across here in Washington is Hells Canyon. At a depth of approximately 8,000 feet, Hells Canyon is the most penetrating gorge in North America. Hells Canyon plunges more than 7,900 feet at its highest point – nearly 2,000 feet deeper than the Grand Canyon.

10. Mount Rainier is the highest and third most voluminous volcano of the Cascade Range. The mountain is 14,410 feet high and can be seen from 100 miles away. It is an active volcano and it last erupted over 100 years ago.

11. Mount St. Helens is an active volcano which is also a National Volcanic Monument. It erupted in 1980 and flattened acres of forest with ash and volcanic debris. At the time, it was the deadliest and costliest volcanic eruption in U.S. history.

12. Ever think about ice age? Well, you will feel right at home if ice is what you seek in Washington. Washington has more glaciers than any other state except Alaska. Mount Rainier has approximately 26 glaciers.

glaciers in Washington, United States
Image credit – Adam Foster

13. Washington has 3,101 glaciers (covering 450.5 square kilometers), making it the most glaciated state in the contiguous continental states of the United States of America. Its largest glacier is 10.59 square kilometers in size.

14. More than ten beautiful waterfalls can be found in Washington State. Marymere Falls, Nooksack Falls, and Spokane Falls are some of these picturesque waterfalls.

15. Cape Disappointment is one of the foggiest places in the U.S.

16. According to the American Lung Association, Washington has the cleanest as well as some of the most polluted air.

17. Washington also has some of the wettest and driest places in the nation.

Ferry a sunset. facts about Washington state
Image credit -SounderBruce

18. San Juan Island, Washington State, has no highways or traffic lights to keep you waiting. The most popular method of transport on the island is by ferry.

19. The state’s more than 50% land is covered in forests. And there is no surprise why it is nicknamed: the Evergreen State.

20. The Olympic peninsula is home to the only temperate rain forest in the lower 48 states – the Hoh Rainforest. The rainforest is fascinating and an excellent allure for locals and visitors alike.

21. One of the largest petrified forests in the world can be found in Kittitas, Washington. It is known as the Ginkgo Petrified Forest National Natural Landmark.

Red Washington apples
Red Washington apple at the farmer market, fresh and juicy.

22. An apple a day keeps the doctor away, and here in Washington, you will find the region as the biggest producer of apples in the US. Other than apples, the state is the number one when it comes to the production of sweet cherries, pears, and red raspberries as well.

23. The state grows more red raspberries and cherries than any other state in the nation.

24. A very sweet gold and pink fruit, the Rainier cherry originated in Washington State. It is much sweeter than the red variety and grows faster.

25. The state is a leading lumber producer.

26. On Vashon Island in Washington State, there is a bicycle inside a tree. What is strange about this is that it looks like the tree grew around the bicycle.

The Douglas Fir tree
The Douglas Fir tree. Image credit – Bureau of Land Management Oregon and Washington

27. The Douglas Fir tree in the Hoh Rain Forest of Washington State can live long. It is estimated that they can live up to a thousand years.

28. Many people believed the fake claim that there was a tree octopus in Washington State in 1998. Lyle Zapato asked people to ‘Save the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus’ on his website.

29. The beautiful American Goldfinch is the State Bird of Washington State. It was voted for by children in 1951 and was made official.

30. You will find the highest number of unmanaged Roosevelt elk in the Olympic National Park, Washington. These elks are also the largest variety in the US.

31. Salmon has been the symbol of life and tribal culture for many years in Washington. They play an important role in the ecosystem of the region.

yellow American Goldfinch
The yellow American Goldfinch. Image credit – Mr TinMD

32. The bright yellow American Goldfinch has six distinctive vocalizations, including ‘potato chip” and ‘per-chick-o-ree.’ Only the male has a bright color; the female of this bird species is a dull yellow.

33. Three families of orca whales frequently visit the waters of the Salish Sea. They are known as the Southern Residents and visit every year.

34. Amos Peters built a bridge 6 yards above the road to provide safe passage for squirrels in 1963. It helped to prevent squirrels from getting killed trying to cross the busy Olympia Way in Longview, Washington.

Grand Coulee Dam
Grand Coulee Dam Pumping Plant – Night. Image credit –

35. In terms of the most massive concrete structure, no other constructions in North America come close to the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington. If you ever get the chance to visit the Dam, you will see how magnificent and gigantic the whole structure is.

36. During World War Two, Boeing built a fake city in Washington State to disguise their facilities from aerial attacks. It was named “Boeing Wonderland” by the Seattle Daily Times.

37. The Pike Place Market was nearly torn down to make place for hotels and other developments in 1969. Luckily, it did not happen when citizens banded together to protect it.

38. Residents of Washington State don’t need to go all the way to England to see Stonehenge. A perfect replica can be seen in Maryhill, Washington State.

39. There is no tax on personal income in the state.

40. Washington is home to some of the big corporations that have set a world record in building enterprises. You’ll find some of the biggest names in business which became a great success from the state. The successful ventures include names like Starbucks, Costco, Microsoft, and Amazon. 

41. Bill gates from Seattle and his classmate Paul Allen founded Microsoft in 1975. The company has its home in Redmond today.

42. Jeff Bezos the founding father of Amazon, an internet retailer, started his business from Seattle when he started selling books online. The popularity of his website and services soon picked up and he started adding other products. Today he is one of the top three billionaires in the world and there is no sign of his company’s growth abating.

43. The coffee chain- “Starbucks” was originally going to be called either Cargo House or Pequod. The coffee chain was named after the Pequod’s first mate in the novel Moby Dick. The first Starbucks opened in Seattle on March 30, 1971. Today, there are more than 30,000 retail stores in 80 markets.

Boeing 737 MAX, facts about Washington
Multiple engineless Boeing 737 MAX outside the assembly line parked at Renton Airport.

44. William Boeing started a plane company in 1916 in Seattle. It became the world’s largest airplane manufacturer. Boeing’s biggest rival is Airbus, based in France.

45. Explore the heart and soul of Washington at the Pike Place Market in Seattle. Produce and artwork from over 200 craftspeople are on display and for sale here.

46. Architect John Graham designed the flying saucer shape of the space needle in Seattle, Washington. It opened for the Seattle World Fair on April 21, 1962.

47. Hanford Engineer Works produced plutonium for the American Nuclear program in the 1940s. Cleanup to remove dangerous nuclear waste from the site began in 1989.

48. San Juan Island in Washington State was occupied by two opposing forces, America and Britain for 12 years, from 1859 to 1872.

49. On June 15, 1859, a war started on San Juan Island when an American shot a pig that belonged to a British company.

50. The port city of Seattle, Washington, was paralyzed by the first general strike (6 February 1919) in the history of the US. It is known as the Seattle General Strike and lasted five days.

51. The first father’s day was celebrated on June 19, 1910, by its creator – Spokane citizen – Sonora Smart Dodd. Her father was a civil war veteran who was a single parent and raised six children.

52. The Daffodil festival held every spring in Pierce County involves four parades in four cities (Tacoma, Puyallup, Sumner, and Orting) in one day!

53. A peculiar law in Washington State is that you may not buy mattresses on Sundays.

54. It is illegal to ride an ugly horse in the town of Wilbur in Washington State. You could be fined $300.

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