FROM A TO Z
"THE BLUEST SKIES-THE GREENEST TREES
THE BRIGHTEST FLOWERS
Facts about the State of Washington for each letter of the alphabet.
Click on highlighted word for more information.
A IS FOR AGRICULTURE, AMISH, & ARCHAEOLOGY
The Amish way of life largely revolves around working and socializing together as a family and community. There are no longer any Amish communities in the state but there are Hutterites including a Hutterite colony in Spokane. There are also Mennonites and they first settled in Whitman in 1886.
October is ARCHEOLOGY Month in Washington. The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture has ARCHAEOLOGY and paleontology events. The museum sponsors Archaeology Day on October 7 and offers a week long camp for kids in the summer. Many of the archaeology sites are on the National Register of Historic Places in Washington. There are Petroglyphs at Horsethief Lake State Park.
Many species of BIRDS are found throughout Washington. Birding is popular and there are several bird watching sites and Birding Trails. The State Bird is the Goldfinch. The town of Bickleton is nicknamed the Bluebird Capital of the world. Deming Homestead Eagle Park near Bellingham is a transit area for eagles and other wildlife. Some birds are endangered.
Washington has over 3,000 BRIDGES including Historic Bridges and Suspension Bridges. About 50 new bridges are built each year. The Tacoma Narrows Bridge is one of the largest suspension bridges in the world. The Fred Redmon Memorial Bridge is the longest single concrete bridge in North America. The Astoria-Megler Bridge is the longest continuous steel span truss bridge in the world. The Ed Hendler Bridge is the 2nd longest cable-stayed bridge in the world. Some of the bridges in Washington were originally built by the Great Northern Railway, and 79 bridges are on the National Register of Historic Places. The bridge at Deception Pass is the most photographed bridge in the state. Washington is called the Floating Bridge Capital of the World.
Washington has many Scenic BYWAYS and National Scenic Highways. The Cascade Loop is a self-guided driving tour and goes through several regions. The state has many types of trails including many Walking Trails. The state celebrates National Trails Day. Washington has many Roadside Attractions including the Ye Olde Curiosity Shop in Seattle, and Maryhill, Sam Hills Stonehenge.
All forms of COMMUNICATIONS are available throughout Washington including newspapers, magazines, radio, television, telephone, and Internet. The state has several telephone area codes. Internet providers are located throughout the state. Technology Alliance provides programs and research studies in Washington. Web Cams are located throughout the state including web cam views of Washington State ferries.
There are 39 COUNTIES in Washington. King County has the largest population and Garfield has the smallest. Okanogan is the largest county by area and San Juan is the smallest. The term "county" is used in 48 of the 50 states for the level of local government below the state itself. Seattle is the largest city in the state.
The State DANCE of Washington is the square dance. This type of dance is performed by groups of four couples. Dancers follow the directions of a "caller" and most of the music is provided by fiddles, banjos, and guitars. The Square & Folk Dance Federation is incorporated under the laws of the State of Washington as a non-profit organizatioto promote Square and Folk Dancing in Washington
The Methow Valley in Washington is among the few places in this part of the world that has deposits that contain fossils of DINOSAURS. The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture features dinosaurs and has a Dinosaur Day in March. The Pacific Science Center in Seattle has an exhibit with 5 robotic dinosaurs. A variety of FOSSILS have been found in the state. The State FOSSIL is the ColumbianWooly Mammoth. Sometimes it is called the Jeffersonian Mammoth because one was discovered in the United States when Thomas Jefferson was president. Stonerose Fossil Site offers the opportunity to dig for your own fossil. One of the most unusual fossils found in the Columbia Plateau is a mold and a few bones of a small rhinoceros.
The Washington State Board of EDUCATION oversees public education in the state which is free and mandatory for any child age 8-18. The Essential Academic Learning Requirements are clear targets for students and teachers. Washington also has private schools that are required to comply with state standards and regulations. The First school in Washington opened at in 1832. Wilkeson has the oldest operating elementary school in the state and is listed as a Historic Site. Information about schools is available from GreatSchools and SchoolBug.
Washington has many EVENTS during the year including many festivals. Lynden has a Raspberry Festival. The Washington State International Kite Festival was voted the best kite festival in the world. Bumbershoot takes place on Labor Day weekend and is one of the largest festivals in North America. The Puyallup Fair is one of the largest fairs in the world. The 1st Father's Day was held in Spokane in 1910.
The FLAG of Washington is a deep green and has the State Seal in the center. Some counties and cities have a flag. Many Native American Tribes have their own flag. Bugs Bunny is the Official State Mascot.
The FOOD timeline of Washington dates back to prehistoric times when Salmon was the main food. Discovery of gold brought prospectors followed by settlers of English, Dutch, German, and Scandinavian origin. These early settlers quickly learned to adapt their recipes to ingredients available. The Apple Industry in Washington began with seeds brought from England. There is an Apple Blossom Festival in Wenatchee. Washington has a variety of special local foods. The state has an Emergency Food Assistant Program.
The state of Washington has had many FORTS. Some of them have become parks, historical sites, or have markers. Some of the original 1904 post buildings and most of the 1941 World War II buildings remain at Fort Casey on Whidbey Island. Battery Worth has two 10" guns with disappearing carriages on display, and Battery Trevor has two 3" rapid fire pedestal guns on display. Fort Columbia is a State Park with 12 historic wood-frame buildings still standing and numerous gun emplacements. Fort Lewis is known as Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
Many GHOST TOWNS are located throughout Washington. Avon and Clear Lake have many original buildings. Loomis has some remnants and residents. Hanford has the remains of Hanford High School. Benge has several buildings including a 2 room school house. Washington claims to have many Haunted Places.
The GLOBAL POSITION of Washington is approximately 122 north degrees latitude (horizontal) by 47 west degrees longitude. The state is located in the northwest corner of the contiguous United States and is 360 miles long and 240 miles wide. The geographic center of Washington is 10 miles south of Wenatchee. Mount Rainer is the highest point in the state and the Pacific Ocean is the lowest. Canada is to the north, Idaho to the east, and Oregon to the south. The topography of Washington ranges from sea level to 12,000 ft. Geocaching is a popular game using a Global Positioning System, and there are many geocaches in Washington. Cape Flattery is the most northwesterly point in the contiguous 48 sates. Point Roberts is the only place in the country that can only be reached by land by going through another country - Canada.
The European Record of a landing on the Washington coast was in 1774 by Spaniard Juan Pérez. Although the state was far removed from the Civil War it did provide troops. Historical Museums are located throughout the state. Washington participates in National History Day.
The HYDROPLANE is a boat that goes so fast it often skims above the water. The Seafair Cup is held on Lake Washington in Seattle. The race is the main attraction of the Seafair Festival and has been an annual event since 1950. The Columbia Cup race is held on the Columbia River in the Tri-Citieshas been held since 1966 and is the main attraction of the annual Water Follies festivities. The Gold Cup race is sometimes held in Washington.
A wide variety of INSECTS are found in Washington. The official Washington State Insect is the common Green Darner Dragonfly. Many species of butterflies can be found in the state. About a thousand species of insects have been found on Rattlesnake Mountain in Eastern Washington. Several hundred of species of spiders are found in the state.
Washington has many ISLANDS. Some of them are on the US Islands Directory because they have a ham radio. Many reefs make up the San Juan archepalego which is the northernmost arc of islands in the contiguous United States. Camano Island is home to the only park in Washington to honor Pearl Harbor survivors. Patos Island is the outermost of the San Juan Islands and part of the marine parks and boat moorage system. Whidbey Island claims to be the longest island in the contiguous United States.
One of the largest manufacturers of commercial JET airliners, Boeing, is in Western Washington. The Everett assembly plant has the largest building in the world. Air Force One, the jet plane used by the President of the United States, is made here. The company also makes the airplane used by the Blue Angels a precision flying team.
The JUDICIAL System is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the name of the state. The Washington State Judicial Information System is the primary information system for courts in Washington. It provides case management automation to appellate, superior, limited jurisdiction and juvenile courts.
KENNEWICK MAN is one of the oldest and most complete skeletons found in North America. Radiocarbon-dating of the bones place their age over 9,000 years old. DNA testing is being done at the Burke Museum of Natural and Cultural History in Seattle.
Many aspects of life in the state of Washington focus on KIDS. There is a Coloring Book for Kids and the State Legislature has a Civics Page for different grade levels. The Apple Commission of Washington has a coloring book and activities for kids. The Healthy Choices for Kids program has nutrition information.
There are many LIGHTHOUSES off the coast of Washington. Admiralty Head Lighthouse is on Whidbey Island. Cape Disappointment Lighthouse is on the Long Beach Peninsula - the longest peninsula in the United States. It is believed to be the oldest structure in the state still used for its original purpose. The most important aspect of a lighthouse is the light that comes from the tower.
Washington has many MOUNTAINS. The Cascade Range divides Eastern & Western Washington. Mount Rainer is the greatest single-peak glacial system in the country, and it is on the state license plates. Paradise Glacier has the largest glacier cave in the world. Beacon Rock is the second highest monolith in the world. Hiking, Trekking, and Mountain Climbing are popular activities and the state has several Climbing Clubs including The Mountaineers, the University of Washington Climbing Club, and the Washington Alpine Club.
MUSEUMS are located throughout Washington including many Art Museums. The Washington State Arts Commission supports the promotion, growth, development, and preservation of arts within the state. The Children's Museum in Seattle brings children and adults together to learn about the world. The American Hop Museum in Toppenish is the only Hop Museum in the country.
NATIVE AMERICANS - Paleo Indians - were the first inhabitants of Washington. At one time many tribes lived in what is now the state of Washington. At the present time, the state has over a dozen Tribes and Reservations. Many have Casinos. Many totem poles are located in the state. The totem Pole in Kalama is the tallest single tree totem in the world.
Washington is bordered to the west by the Pacific Ocean and celebrates World Oceans Day. There have been many shipwrecks off the coast. The entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca has claimed more than 2,000 vessels and is sometimes called the Graveyard of the Pacific. Many of the shipwrecks offer great diving. The NOAA provides information about why the ocean is Salty.
Washington was part of the OLD West (the area west of the Mississippi River During the 1900s) and has cowboys and cowgirls. Many rodeos are held during the year. The Ellensburg Rodeo is one of the top professional rodeos in the country. Horseback riding is popular and the state has many Horse trails and campgrounds. The town of Winthrop has a western theme. Toppenish brings the old West to life through murals on buildings and many store fronts similar to frontier towns in the late 1800s.
Washington has over 7 million PEOPLE and residents are called Washingtonians. Many well-known people have called Washington their home including Bing Crosby (singer/actor). Bill Gates (computer software entrepreneur), Jimi Hendrix (guitarist), Bob Barker(tv host), and Carol Channing (actress).
Washington has many PORTS. The state has 75 Port Districtsranging from 11 deep water shipping ports to small local port districts that operate a single marina, small airfield, or business park. The Port of Seattle is one of the largest container ports in the country and overseas. Seattle/Tacoma International Airport.
Washington is home to many species of REPTILES and amphibians including Short-horned lizards, the Western Rattlesnake which is poisonous, and the Leatherback Sea Turtle which is the largest sea turtle in the world and an endangered species. Two species of salamanders live in Washington that are not found anywhere else in the world. The Coast Giant Salamander and the Tailed Frog are unique. A special project in the state is monitoring rattlesnakes.
Washington has many RIVERS and creeks. The major river are the Columbia River, the Snake River, and the Yakima - the longest river entirely in the state of Washington. The state has several wild and scenic rivers. The Columbia River Gorge is a National Scenic Area. The Skagit River Bald Eagle Natural Area is home to several hundred eagles at winter peak. It has an annual Bald Eagle Festival and an Eagle Interpretive Center.
The Washington State SHIP is the President Washington - one of the largest container ships ever built in the United States. Aberdeen is the homeport of the Lady Washington Tall Ship which is used to teach seamanship & Washington History.
Washington offers a wide variety of SPORTS and has college, high school, league, and professional sports teams. A new sports stadium opened in Seattle in 2002. The Tacoma Dome is the largest wood-domed structure in the world.
Washington has all forms of TRANSPORTATION. The Washington State Department of Transportation maintains highways, bridges, tunnels,and has an Adopt-a-Highway Program. It also operates the Washington State Ferries and provides rail, bus, and other transit services. The Washington State Ferry System is the largest ferry system in the country. The first Washington License Plate was issued in 1916. Specialized Plates are available, and many Native American Tribe in the state have a license plate. The State Highway Shields have a white profile of George Washington on a black square background. The Cascade Tunnel is one of the longest railroad tunnels in the country. There are over several hundred Airports in the state. There are also heliports and seaplane bases. To celebrates its 50th birthday, Matchbox cars issued a vehicle for each state in the order in which it was admitted into the union. The vehicle for Washington was an ambulance.
The State TREE is the Western Hemlock. The biggest known hemlock in the world is on the Olympic Peninsula. Forests cover about half of Washington with some of the finest commercial softwood trees in the world. The state has 6 National Forests including several rainforests the Hoh and the Olympic. Occasionally there is a Wildfire. Queets Rain Forest has the largest Douglas Fir and the largest Yellow +cedar in the world. Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park is one of the largest petrified forests in the world.
Ten ships have been named the USS Washington. First in honor of George Washington and later for the state. The 1st USS Washington was a schooner named Endeavor acquired by General George Washington, renamed Washington, and re-rigged as a brigantine. The 2nd USS Washington was a row galley that operated in Narragansett Bay. The 3rd USS Washington was one of 13 frigates authorized by the Continental Congress. The 4th USS Washington was a lateen-rigged two-masted galley and served in Brigadier General Benedict Arnold's fleet. The 5th USS Washington (1814), a ship of the line, was the 2nd such to be launched by the Navy and was on active service from 1815 to 1820. The 6th USS Washington (1833) was a revenue cutter that initially operated out of Mobile, Alabama, before shifting to Key West, Florida. The 7th USS Washington (1837) was a revenue cutter and was the ship that discovered Amistad after its cargo of slaves seized control of that schooner. The 8th USS Washington (ACR-11) was a Tennessee-class armored cruiser and later renamed Seattle. The 9th USS Washington (BB-47) was a Colorado-class battleship. The 10th USS Washington (BB-56) was a North Carolina-class battleship.
There are several VOLCANOES in Washington. The eruption of Mt. St. Helens in southwest Washington volcano in 1980 was the greatest natural disaster in the state in recorded history. (The writer of this website was there when it happened) This volcano is a National Monument and continues to have minor eruptions. In the spring of 2016 Mt. St. Helens had a swarm of earthquakes. Learn what to do during a volcano eruption.
The Cascade Mountains divide Washington into 2 different WEATHER regions. Western Washington has mild wet winters and cool summers. Eastern Washington is drier, hotter in the summer, and colder in the winter. The state has Winter Storms and Thunder Storms. The western slopes of the Cascade Mountains receives some of the heaviest snowfall in the country. The wettest area of the contiguous United States is the western side of the Olympic Peninsula which is a World Heritage Site. The state provides information about Global Warming. The Washington State Climatologist provides information about the weather in the state.
Washington has a great diversity of WILDLIFE and many Wildlife Refuges. Many areas in the state have been selected for viewing. The state has many National Wildlife Refuges and a National Marine Sanctuary. The Northwest Trek is a wildlife park and has special event and programs throughout the year. Some species of wildlife are threatened or endangered including the gray wolf and the grizzly bear. Walking Trails are located throughout the state. Dungeness spit is the longest natural sanspit in the county and the site of a National Wildlife refuge. Washington has many Wilderness Areas. The state has a Nature Mapping Program. There are over 2,000 cougars in the state. The State Mammal is the Washington Ground Squirrel. Washington has many Nature and environmental education centers
YMCA organizations are located throughout Washington. The state has a YMCA Mock Trial Program. The state also has Boy Scout and Girl Scout organizations and Boys & Girls Clubs. Washington has 4-H Clubs and chapters of Future Farmers of America.
There are many HOSTELS in Washington, and some are on islands. The Youth Hostel on Vashon Island has teepees. A Youth Hostel in downtown Seattle is very conveniently located. Washington also has Elder Hostels now known as Road Scholars.
Time ZONES are established by the Coordinated Universal Time. The United States has several Time ZONES. Washington is in the Pacific Time Zone and observes daylight savings time. U.S. Department of Agriculture lists Washington in several plant zones.