Five significant events in Washington's state history By: mckenzie

Washington is a state in the Pacific Northwest with terrain spanning the snow-capped Cascade Mountains to forested islands in Puget Sound. Its largest city, Seattle, is known for its thriving tech industry, vibrant music scene and famed coffeehouses. Its landmarks include the futuristic Space Needle, century-old Pike Place Market and Seattle Aquarium. The history of Washington includes thousands of years of Native American history before Europeans and Americans arrived and began to establish territorial claims. The region was part of Oregon Territory from 1848 to 1853, after which it was separated from Oregon and established as Washington Territory. In 1889, Washington became the 42nd state of the United States. Since it has became a state, Washington has had quite a few significant events to happy within its borders.


The first Northwest railroad, the Cascade Railroad Company, begins operation in the Columbia River Gorge. The Walla Walla and Columbia River Railroad became the second Northwest railroad in 1873, and a large number of local railroads subsequently spring up in the 1880s. It wasn't until 1862 that Congress passes the Pacific Railroad Act, giving Central Pacific and Union Pacific Companies permission and land grants to begin construction of a transcontinental railroad line stretching along the 42ndparallel. It wasn't until 1883 that the northern pacific railroad was completed in Tacoma, linking Washington to the east.

MAY 1980

On May 18, 1980, a major volcanic eruption occurred at Mount St. Helens, a volcano located in the state of Washington, United States. The eruption (a VEI 5 event) was the only significant volcanic eruption to occur in the contiguous 48 U.S. states since the 1915 eruption of Lassen Peak in California.

JUNE 1889

Seattle's Great Fire, on June 6, 1889, was an important moment in the city's history. The afternoon blaze began when a pot of glue from a cabinet store ignited and spread across the business district over the next 18 hours. Damages were estimated at $20 million.


On November 8, 1910, Washington state's male electorate ratifies Amendment 6 to the state constitution granting women the right to vote. Breaking a 14-year gridlock in the national woman suffrage crusade, the state becomes the fifth in the nation to enfranchise women. Two outstanding women led the Washington crusade: Emma Smith DeVoe of Tacoma and May Arkwright Hutton of Spokane. The final vote was: Yes- 52,299 No- 29,676


The Puget Sound, located off Washington's northwestern coast, became a focus for manufacturers during World War II. In particular, Boeing made many of the country's bombers in ports such as Seattle, Bremerton and Tacoma to help the war effort. As young men left to fight, large numbers of women joined the workforce. One of the atomic bombs dropped on Nagasaki and the Boeing B-29 that carried it originated from the state.

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.