There’s always something new to learn about Washington. Our state has had an eventful, innovative history, with all kinds of strange happenings and landmarks they don’t teach you about in school. Here are 10 of the many lesser-known facts about our state that may surprise you:
1. During World War II, Boeing camouflaged a secret bomber-making factory in Seattle by covering it entirely with a fake neighborhood created by a Hollywood set designer.
The factory was just south of downtown Seattle, and it was complete with fake houses, faux trees, and even artificial sidewalks. It was intended to hide the presence of the airplane production facilities down below from other bombers.
2. On Vashon Island, you can find a bike that's completely grown into a tree.
This strange spot is located just off Vashon Highway. Legend has it, a child had chained his bike to this tree when he had to leave for war in 1914. As the tree kept growing, it enveloped the bike and now lifts it over seven feet off the ground.
3. Bass guitar was originally invented in Washington.
Seattle native Paul Tutmarc developed this instrument in the early 1930s, although he didn't receive much recognition or success from it. It became more revolutionary after Fender and Fullerton's rendition came out shortly after in the 1950s.
4. In the early 1900s, Aberdeen was thought to be “the roughest town west of the Mississippi” because of excessive gambling, violence and drug use.
The old logging city was even off-limits to military personnel until the late 1950s.
5. There's a giant, 16-foot bronze statue of Communist leader Vladimir Lenin in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle.
It originally installed in Czechoslovakia in 1988, but was later removed after the Velvet Revolution. The statue was eventually purchased and brought to the US by an American English teacher. Just behind the statue, you can also find an amazing hidden sandwich shop known as Royal Grinders.
6. The world record for the most snow in one year is actually held by Mount Baker.
You may think colder parts of the globe would take the record, but the Mount Baker Ski Area actually holds it for their 1998-99 season when they reported 1,140 inches of snow, which is equal to 95 feet / 2,896 cm / 29 meters.
7. The highest concentration of bald eagles in the contiguous United States are on the San Juan Islands.
With over 125 nesting pairs, the population here is higher than anywhere else in the lower 48 states. Some are migratory, while other birds reside in the area because of the abundance of fresh food.
8. In 1909, there was a one-month old raffled off at the Seattle World's Fair.
Supposedly, the little boy's name was
. Even though a winning ticket had been drawn, nobody claimed the controversial prize, and it's not entirely clear what happened to him since the exposition.
9. After Mount St. Helens erupted, the ash clouds drifted across the entire country in 3 days, and encircled the whole Earth in only 15 days.
There was enough timber blown down total to build over 300,000 two-bedroom homes.
10. We almost went to war with Canada over a pig.
The Pig War was a confrontation between the U.S. and the British Empire over the boundary of countries. The dispute was over the San Juan Islands, and first started after the shooting of a pig who had been trespassing and eating potato crops.
Washington may have some strange history, but there’s still nowhere better to live than right here in the Northwest. Were you surprised by any of these fun facts?