Washington October 25, 2015
9 Things You Didn’t Know About The History Of Washington
Our state has had quite a fascinating history – from these world-changing
inventions and notable firsts to all kinds of milestone events, the Northwest region has evolved significantly over the preceding years. Did you know about any of these lesser known facts from Washington’s past?
1. When Mount St. Helens erupted, the ash clouds drifted east across the United States in 3 days and encircled the entire Earth in 15 days!
On the afternoon of the eruption, the ash cloud was so dense that it turned the eastern side of our state dark enough for streetlights to turn on in Yakima and Ritzville!
2. Seattle's Great Fire in June 1889 was caused by a pot of glue from a cabinet shop that had burst into flames.
It completely destroyed nearly 64 acres downtown and several businesses. Because of this event, the streets now sit up to 22 feet above original levels, but you can still take a tour underground and explore the remains of the old city.
3. Washington was originally part of Oregon Territory from 1848 to 1853!
Before Washington became a state, the area was part of a region called the Columbia District, named after the Columbia River. Ironically, after granted statehood the name was changed so that it wouldn't be confused with the District of Columbia.
4. Spokane was the smallest city to ever hold the World's Fair in 1974!
Expo '74 was the first environmentally themed fair in which nearly 6 million people attended, including famous visitors like Bing Crosby, Wilt Chamberlain and Jimmy Carter!
5. 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 into the 1980s!
6. The Grand Coulee Dam was constructed during the Great Depression to help create thousands of new jobs and increase the production of electricity!
The gigantic concrete structure in Central Washington was constructed between 1933 and 1942 and originally had two power plants which both housed nine enormous generators.
7. During World War II, Washington was actually a main hub for war industries!
Boeing produced many of the nation's bombers and there were ports in Seattle, Bremerton, Vancouver and Tacoma that were available for the manufacture of warships. Seattle was also a main departure point by the Pacific for numerous soldiers!
8. Women in the Pacific Northwest were given the right to vote 10 years earlier than the rest of the country after passing a suffrage amendment in 1910!
Washington had nearly become the first state to grant women's suffrage in 1854, but the proposal had been defeated by a single vote!
9. The first settlement on Puget Sound was New Market, now known as Tumwater, in 1845!
Also called the end of the Oregon Trail or Cowlitz Trail, this city was home to the first group of permanent American settlers by Tumwater Falls, led by pioneer Michael T. Simmons!
Were you surprised by any of these? What are some other fun facts about the history of our state?