Introduction - State of WashingtonBordered by the states of Idaho and Oregon in the Western region of the U.S., the state of Washington is also bordered by the country of Canada as well as the Pacific Ocean to the west. Washington was named after the man who was the first president of the United States, George Washington. This U.S. state is also home to Mount Rainier, Mount Saint Helens, and the Space Needle in Seattle; all of which are listed in the interesting information and quick facts section below. In the kid-friendly format below, you'll also learn what Washington used to be named, where the state capital is located, why the Washington town of Aberdeen had such a bad reputation and when this state was granted statehood.
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State of Washington Quick Facts
- Washington was the 42nd state to join the union.
- Washington officially became a state on November 11, 1889.
- The state capital of Washington is Olympia on the southern end of Washington's Puget Sound.
- The largest city is in Washington is Seattle.
- The population of Washington is 6,971,406 (source 2013 United States Census Bureau estimate).
- Washington ranks as the 18th largest state (measured by land area) in the United States (source 2013 United States Census Bureau estimate).
- The state flower of Washington is the Rhododendron macrophyllum.
- The nickname for the state of Washington is The Evergreen State.
- The nickname given to residents of this state is Washingtonians.
- The major rivers within this state include the Yakima River, the Columbia River and the Snake River. The major lakes are Lake Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lake Washington.
Washington State Interesting Facts
- In 1962, a restaurant called "Top Of The Needle" at the very top of Seattle's Space Needle opened. It was the first revolving restaurant in the continental United States. It was built for the 1962 Worlds Fair.
- Bill Gates, the wealthiest man in the United States and founder of Microsoft, lives in Medina, Washington. The Microsoft Corporation is located in Redmond, Washington.
- Mount St. Helens is located 96 miles south of Seattle. It is an active volcano that last erupted on July 10, 2008.
- Mount Rainier, an active volcano stands 14,410 feet (4,392 m) above sea level, making it the highest point in Washington. The Native American Indian name for the mountain is Mount Tacoma.
- Grand Coulee Dam, built between 1933 and 1942 was constructed mainly for hydroelectric power. It is one of the largest concrete structures ever built and one of the largest dams in the world, measuring just under one mile (1.6 kilometers) long.
- The small town of Aberdeen, Washington was once called "the roughest town west of the Mississippi". It earned this name due to heavy gambling, prostitution, extreme violence, and high drug use.
- More apples are grown in Washington State than any other U.S. state.
Washington State Historical Facts
- Before being granted statehood, Washington was named Columbia, after the Columbia River. After becoming a state, it was renamed, most likely to avoid confusing it with the District of Columbia.
- In 1775, Spanish explorer, Captain Don Bruno de Heceta became the first European explorer to set foot in Washington. He traveled on a ship called the Santiago and was accompanied by another ship called the Sonora, which was smaller and could more easily reach land.
- The Lewis and Clark expedition made their way throughout Washington state from 1805 through 1806. A group of 33 explorers, called the Corps of Discovery, were extremely successful in their journey as they were able to study the natives, the geography, geology, and the living species of what is now the western United States.