Fascinating Insights: Interesting Facts About Washington State

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Editorial Team

Washington State is full of intriguing and unique facts that will amaze you. From its natural wonders to its cultural contributions, there is always something interesting to discover about this diverse and vibrant state.

Did you know that Washington is the largest producer of apples in the United States? With its ideal climate and fertile soil, Washington state produces the most apples out of all 50 states. In addition, it leads the nation in the production of sweet cherries, pears, red raspberries, and spearmint oil.

When it comes to rainfall, Seattle, the largest city in Washington, ranks 32nd among U.S. cities for annual rainfall, with an average of 38.15 inches per year. However, Mt. Mitchell in Washington recorded the most rain in a single day in 1986 with a remarkable 14.26 inches.

Washington State is also home to unique wildlife and natural landmarks. The Yakima Indian Reservation is home to up to 12,000 wild horses, while the San Juan Islands house over 125 nesting pairs of bald eagles, the highest concentration in the U.S. Additionally, Washington is the most glaciated state in America, boasting over 3,000 glaciers, second only to Alaska.



Washington State has its fair share of cultural curiosities as well. Richland, Washington is home to the largest freezer on Earth, illustrating the importance of agricultural storage in the region. In Everett, it is actually illegal to put a hypnotized person on display, showcasing the state’s quirky laws.

The state is also known for its inventiveness. Pickleball, a popular paddle sport, was invented right here in the state of Washington. And if you visit Vashon Island, you might come across a bicycle “growing” in a tree, a peculiar sight that has become a local legend.

Key Takeaways:

  • Washington State is the largest producer of apples in the United States.
  • Seattle, Washington ranks 32nd among U.S. cities for annual rainfall.
  • Washington is home to over 3,000 glaciers, making it the most glaciated state in America.
  • The state has unique wildlife, including wild horses and nesting bald eagles.
  • Washington is known for its inventiveness, with notable inventions like pickleball.

These are just a few of the fascinating insights about Washington State. From its natural wonders to its cultural contributions, this state has much to offer. Stay tuned for more intriguing facts about Washington in the upcoming sections of this article!

The Washington State Flag is the Only One That’s Green

The Washington State flag stands out among other state flags with its vibrant green background. The green color represents the lush fields of the western part of the state, while the gold color surrounding an image of George Washington represents the golden wheat fields of eastern Washington.

The official flag of the state of Washington is required by law to be made of dark green silk or bunting. It must bear a reproduction of the Washington State seal, embroidered, printed, painted, or stamped in the center. The flag can also have fringes of gold or yellow color matching the shade of the seal.

The state seal on the flag was first designed in 1889 by Charles Talcott, using a silver dollar and an ink bottle. It is a symbol of the state’s history and heritage. The Washington State Secretary of State is authorized to provide the state flag to units of the armed forces without charge and sell the state flag to any citizen at a price determined by the Secretary.

The Washington State flag holds a unique place among state flags, both in design and recognition. In a survey conducted in 2001, it ranked 47th among 72 U.S. state, U.S. territorial, and Canadian provincial flags. When flown alongside other U.S. state flags, the Washington State flag is placed 42nd in order.

The standardized colors for the Washington State flag were issued in 1955, and the state seal was redesigned specifically for the flag in 1967. The specific Pantone colors used for the flag are:

  • Background: Irish Green (PMS 348)
  • State Seal (border and fringe): Spanish Yellow (PMS 116)
  • State Seal (interior): Oriental Blue (PMS 311)
  • State Seal (portrait, lettering, rings): Black

Recently, there have been discussions about redesigning the Washington State flag. Graphic designer Bradley Lockhart won an unofficial flag design contest in 2015, and within two years, his design became the official flag of Bellingham, Washington. Lockhart’s proposed redesign of the Washington State flag features a color-blocked design with a sky blue and forest green section representing the state’s landscape. The flag includes five overlapping triangles representing the five volcanic mountains in the Cascades.

The current Washington State flag, being the only state flag that is green, is considered a positive aspect by Ted Kaye, a vexillologist and flag expert. He suggests that changing a state flag based on poor design is a more involved and challenging process compared to changing offensive flags.

The Square Dance is Washington’s Official State Dance

Washington State embraces its pioneer roots by designating the square dance as its official state dance. Originally brought to the western frontier by pioneers, the quadrille dance, which is the formal name for the square dance, became a popular social activity and was officially recognized in 1979.

The square dance holds a special place in the hearts of Washingtonians, serving as a celebration of community, tradition, and American heritage. This lively and energetic dance style involves groups of four couples, forming a square formation and moving in sync to the rhythmic instructions called out by a caller.

With its roots deeply embedded in the history and culture of the state, the square dance embodies the essence of Washington. It represents the values of unity, cooperation, and good-natured fun that are characteristic of the people of Washington.

Whether performed at community events, festivals, or social gatherings, the square dance brings people together, creating a sense of camaraderie and shared experience. It is a joyful expression of Washington’s vibrant culture and a testament to the importance of tradition in shaping the identity of the state.

So, the next time you find yourself in Washington State, don’t miss the opportunity to experience the exhilaration and camaraderie of the square dance. Immerse yourself in the lively music, intricate footwork, and spirited atmosphere as you join in on this beloved tradition that has been woven into the fabric of the state’s history.

Join the rhythmic footwork and intricate figures of the square dance, Washington’s official state dance, during your visit to the Evergreen State.

Richland, Washington Is Home to the Largest Freezer on Earth

In the city of Richland, Washington, amidst its thriving economy, cutting-edge technology sector, and picturesque landscapes, lies a remarkable achievement in the world of freezing technology. Preferred Freezer Services, located at 2800 Polar Way, boasts the title of the largest freezer on Earth. This extraordinary facility stands as a testament to Richland’s commitment to innovation and its pivotal role in the storage and preservation of perishable goods.

The scale of this freezing facility is awe-inspiring. Encompassing an immense area of over 505,139 square feet, the warehouse is a colossal structure, with 456,412 square feet dedicated to refrigerated storage. Its towering height of 116 feet and a volume of 36,340,650 cubic feet make it an unparalleled feat of engineering and architecture in the world of cold storage.

Preferred Freezer Services in Richland, Washington, holds the distinction of being the largest refrigerated building on Earth by usable volume. Within its expansive walls, this colossal freezer has the capacity to store approximately 350 million pounds (160 kt) of frozen food. The magnitude of this facility ensures that it remains unrivaled in its ability to meet the demands of the rapidly evolving frozen food industry.

The construction and development of this extraordinary freezer began on May 12, 2014, and were completed by July 2015, coming to fruition at a cost of $115 million. Since its completion, Preferred Freezer Services has continued to expand its operations, acquiring an additional 8.6-acre lot in 2019 to accommodate its growing facilities.

It is important to note that this impressive milestone in freezing technology is not only an achievement in size and scale; it has also made a significant impact on the local economy and employment opportunities. The acquisition of Preferred Freezer Services by Lineage Logistics has ensured the ongoing operation and success of this colossal freezing facility in Richland.

Richland, Washington, truly stands out as a hub of technological advancement and innovation with its largest freezer on Earth. This remarkable facility not only symbolizes the city’s dedication to progress but also plays a vital role in meeting the needs of the ever-expanding frozen food industry.

Location Area Refrigerated Area Volume Storage Capacity
Richland, Washington 505,139 sq ft (46,928.9 m2) 456,412 sq ft (42,402.1 m2) 36,340,650 cubic ft (1,029,053 m3) Approximately 350 million pounds (160 kt)

In Everett, It Is Illegal to Put a Hypnotized Person on Display

Everett, Washington is known for its unique laws, and one of the most intriguing is the prohibition on putting a hypnotized person on display. According to the law, it is illegal to showcase or exhibit an individual who is under the influence of hypnotism or appears to be hypnotized in a store window or any public place.

This law serves to protect individuals from potential exploitation and safeguards the responsible practice of hypnosis entertainment. By making it illegal to display hypnotized individuals, Everett aims to ensure their privacy and prevent any potential harm that may arise from public exposure.

This law carries consequences for those who violate it. Anyone found guilty of displaying a hypnotized person in public in Everett may face a fine of up to $500 and a maximum jail term of six months. The severity of the penalty emphasizes the importance of respecting the rights and well-being of individuals under the influence of hypnotism.

It is worth noting that the law specifically mentions the display of an image of a person who is hypnotized or appears to be hypnotized. This includes any visual representation or depiction that suggests or conveys the state of hypnosis.

While this law may seem unusual, it reflects the commitment of Everett to prioritize the protection and privacy of its residents. By upholding this legislation, the city aims to maintain a responsible and respectful environment for the practice of hypnosis and to prevent any potential exploitation of individuals.

Pickleball Was Invented in Washington

Pickleball, a popular sport known for its fusion of tennis, badminton, and ping pong, was actually invented in Washington State. The game was founded in the summer of 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Washington. It was named by Joan Pritchard in 1965 as a reference to the “pickle boat” crew race competitions. However, the controversy surrounding the name originated from a fun story about a family dog named Pickles, proposed by Joel Pritchard in the early 1970s.

Evidence suggests that the dog Pickles was born in 1968, three years after pickleball was first played and named, confirming that the game was not named after the dog. Instead, the University of Washington’s regattas, which hosted races in “pickle boats” for fun since at least 1938, influenced the name of the game. Barney McCallum, a neighbor and integral part of the game’s formation, also contributed to the development of pickleball equipment and rules.

The game was created by Joel Pritchard and Bill Bell in response to Joel’s son’s complaint about the lack of activities on Bainbridge Island. Frank Pritchard, Joel’s son, even recalls suggesting that his dad create a game after complaining about the lack of activities, leading to the invention of pickleball.

Despite the playful story surrounding the name, pickleball quickly gained popularity and attracted millions of players around the world. In 2019, estimates showed that there were 3.3 million active players, representing a 10% increase from 2016. The International Federation of Pickleball oversaw 58 member countries in 2021, indicating the global growth of the sport.

Interesting Facts About Pickleball
Estimated Active Players in 2019 3.3 million
Member Countries in the International Federation of Pickleball 58
USA Pickleball Membership in 2021 50,000
Number of Locations on USA Pickleball’s Places2Play Map 8,500
Estimated Active Players in the United States 4.8 million
Official State Sport of Washington since 2022 Yes

There Is a Bicycle “Growing” in a Tree on Vashon Island

In the enchanting realm of Vashon Island, Washington, a peculiar sight captures the attention of visitors and locals alike. Nestled within the foliage of a majestic tree stands a rusted bicycle, seemingly “growing” out of its woody embrace. This bicycle tree has become an enduring symbol of the island’s charm and intrigue.

The Legend

The origins of this remarkable phenomenon date back to 1914, when a young boy purportedly left his bicycle behind before departing for war. Over the years, the bicycle slowly merged with the tree, captivating the imagination of all who encountered it.

A Local Legend

In 2009, the bicycle tree captured public attention when it was featured in an article by the Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber. This newfound fame transformed the bicycle tree into a beloved local landmark, drawing visitors from far and wide to marvel at its mystique.

Claiming Ownership

Don Puz, a Vashon Island resident and retired sheriff’s deputy, entered the picture with a surprising revelation. He declared that the bicycle found in the tree belonged to him. According to Puz, he had left the bicycle in the woods in 1954 and never returned for it. His claim added another layer of intrigue to the already captivating story.

Inspiring Imagination

The bicycle tree’s magic even inspired acclaimed author and Vashon Island native, Berkeley Breathed, to write a children’s book called “Red Ranger Came Calling.” This enchanting tale further immortalized the bicycle tree and cemented its place in local lore.

The Story Unraveled

While the legend suggests a wartime origin, historical enthusiasts debunk the tale with uncertainty. They emphasize that the bicycle tree is just one of many unique occurrences that spark imagination and speculation within the vibrant Vashon Island community.

Vashon Island Facts Statistics
Area 36.9 square miles (95.6 km2)
Population (2020) 11,055
Population Density 140/sq mi (53/km2)
Median Household Income $58,261
Per Capita Income Rank 32nd out of 522 areas in Washington
Racial Makeup
  • 93.61% White
  • 0.45% Black or African American
  • 0.70% Native American
  • 1.56% Asian
  • Others
Age Demographics
  • 23.2% under 18 years old
  • 4.6% between 18 and 24 years old
  • 25.1% between 25 and 44 years old
  • 34.0% between 45 and 64 years old
  • 13.1% 65 years old or older
Households 4,193 with an average size of 2.40
Poverty Rate
  • 4.6% of families
  • 6.0% of population
  • Including 5.2% of those under 18
  • 2.2% of those 65 and older

An Entire Fake Town Was Built in Washington to Hide an Airplane Factory

During World War II, a remarkable undertaking took place in Georgetown, Seattle, Washington. To protect the production of Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bombers, a 26-acre fake town was constructed atop Boeing Plant 2.

The elaborate ruse involved the creation of an entire neighborhood, complete with houses, trees, and cars, all meticulously crafted to resemble a typical residential area. The fake town served as a clever disguise, concealing the bustling airplane factory operating below.

Boeing Plant 2 played a crucial role in the war effort, contributing to the production of thousands of B-17 Flying Fortresses. At its peak, the factory helped manufacture an impressive 6,981 planes until April 1945.

Building a fake town on top of the airplane factory was a strategic move to protect the production line from potential aerial bombings. The disguise successfully deceived enemy intelligence, ensuring the safety and continued operation of the critical production facility.

The cost of a single B-17 Flying Fortress during World War II was approximately US$200,000. Adjusted for inflation, this translates to nearly $4 million in today’s economy. Such an investment exemplifies the importance placed on these aircraft and their role in the war.

Before its dismantlement in 1946, Plant 2 employed over 30,000 workers who collaborated tirelessly to produce an impressive 300 B-17s each month. The factory’s contributions to the war effort were instrumental in both the Allied victory and the advancement of aviation technology.

Beyond its role in manufacturing B-17s, Plant 2 also had a lasting impact on aviation. It later contributed to the production of military jets like the B-47 Stratojet and B-52 Stratofortress, as well as commercial airliners such as the first three Boeing 737s.

This extraordinary chapter in Washington’s history showcases the ingenuity and innovation employed during World War II. The construction of a fake town, cleverly concealing an airplane factory, highlights the lengths to which Boeing and the United States went to protect vital manufacturing infrastructure.

Washington Is Not the Rainiest State, Contrary to Popular Belief

Contrary to popular belief, Washington is not the rainiest state in the United States. While it is true that the state is often associated with rainy weather, there are actually many other states that receive more rainfall each year. In fact, Washington ranks 44th among major U.S. cities in terms of rainfall, receiving less rainfall annually than cities like Boston, New York, Houston, and Miami.

Western Washington, where cities like Seattle are located, experiences an average annual rainfall of about 37 inches (94 cm). The Pacific Ocean plays a significant role in creating a marine layer in Western Washington, leading to frequent clouds in the winter, spring, and fall. However, even with this amount of rainfall, Washington is still not the rainiest state in the country.

On the other hand, Eastern Washington receives far less rainfall than its western counterpart. In some regions, the annual rainfall can be as low as 7 to 9 inches (18 to 23 cm), while in Spokane, the average annual rainfall ranges from 15 to 30 inches (38 to 76 cm). The Cascades in Eastern Washington capture most of the rain that would fall in the region, resulting in little rainfall in cities shadowed by the mountains.

Despite having less rainfall, cities in Eastern Washington, such as Wenatchee, Ellensburg, and the Tri-Cities, enjoy up to 300 days of sunshine annually. The region is also known for its spectacular natural beauty, with the Columbia Gorge rising up 3,000 feet (76.2 m) from the Columbia River. Additionally, Eastern Washington has a thriving agricultural sector, with more than 300 crops grown in the region.

Overall, while Washington does experience its fair share of rain, it is not the rainiest state in the United States. The state offers a diverse climate, with different regions experiencing varying amounts of rainfall. So, if you’re planning a visit to Washington, don’t forget to pack an umbrella, but also be prepared to enjoy the sunshine!

Washington Had Some Unusual Laws That Have Since Been Repealed

Washington State has had its fair share of strange laws over the years. While some may seem ludicrous, they were once part of the legal framework of the state. Let’s explore a few of these unusual laws that have since been repealed or are no longer enforced.

Prohibition on Sleeping in Another Person’s Outhouse

It might come as a surprise, but it was once illegal to sleep in another person’s outhouse without their consent in Washington State. This law, although seemingly quirky, was put in place to protect people’s privacy and property.

X-Ray Fluoroscopy Devices for Shoe Fittings

Another repealed law in Washington State banned the use of X-ray fluoroscopy devices for shoe fittings. This law was enacted due to health concerns regarding the radiation exposure associated with such devices. The safety of the public was the top priority behind this decision.

Illegal to Drive with a Lollipop in Your Mouth

Washington State once had a law that made it illegal to drive with a lollipop in your mouth. It’s unclear why this law was put into place, but it was likely deemed a distraction or a potential hazard on the road. This law has since been repealed, and drivers are no longer penalized for enjoying a lollipop while driving.

Law Prohibiting the Purchase of Meat on Sundays

In the past, Washington State had a law that prohibited the purchase of meat on Sundays. This law was rooted in religious traditions and aimed to encourage Sabbath observance. Today, people are free to purchase meat any day of the week, thanks to the repeal of this law.

Dram Shop Laws and Social Host Liability Laws

While not necessarily strange, it’s worth mentioning that Washington State has implemented dram shop laws and social host liability laws. These laws hold establishments and individuals responsible for serving alcohol to intoxicated individuals who go on to cause injury or harm. They provide a legal framework to enforce accountability and prevent alcohol-related incidents.

Strange Law Status
Harassing or slaying Bigfoot in Skamania County Repealed
Sleeping in another person’s outhouse without their consent Repealed
Driving with a lollipop in your mouth Repealed
Purchase of meat on Sundays Repealed
X-ray fluoroscopy devices for shoe fittings banned Repealed

These unusual laws from Washington State’s past offer a glimpse into the evolution of legal systems and societal norms. While they may seem amusing now, they serve as a reminder of the ever-changing nature of laws and the importance of adapting to the needs and values of a society.

Washington Is Home to the Largest Variety of Land-Living Mollusk in North America

Washington State boasts an impressive array of natural wonders and unique wildlife, but perhaps one of the most fascinating creatures found here is the Banana Slug, the largest variety of land-living mollusk in North America.

These slimy creatures, known for their bright yellow color, can grow up to 9 inches long and are commonly found in the lush, forested areas of Washington. Despite their unusual appearance, Banana Slugs play a vital role in the state’s ecosystem, contributing to the decomposition process and providing a food source for other organisms.

Washington’s diverse geography and climate create the perfect habitat for these fascinating creatures. From the damp rainforests of Olympic National Park to the moss-covered forests of Mount Rainier, Banana Slugs thrive in the moist environments that are characteristic of the state.

The abundance of rain and mild temperatures provide ideal conditions for the growth and proliferation of land-living mollusks like the Banana Slug. This, combined with Washington’s commitment to environmental conservation, has allowed the slug population to flourish.

Whether you encounter a Banana Slug while exploring Washington’s breathtaking landscapes or simply marvel at their uniqueness from afar, these fascinating creatures are a testament to the state’s biodiversity and serve as a reminder of the wonders that can be found in nature.

Conclusion

Washington State is a captivating destination that offers a wealth of interesting facts and attractions. From its stunning mountain peaks, such as Mount Rainier and Mount Olympus, to its diverse climate and natural beauty, there is no shortage of wonders to explore.

With a population of over 7.8 million, Washington State is a thriving hub of innovation and industry. It ranks second in wine production and is known for its agricultural contributions, particularly in the production of apples, hops, and pears. The state also boasts a booming manufacturing sector that includes aircraft, missiles, and transportation equipment.

Aside from its natural and economic wonders, Washington State has a rich cultural heritage. It has designated the Columbian mammoth as its state fossil and has an official gem, petrified wood. Visitors can discover fascinating exhibits at the Burke Museum in Seattle or explore the Eocene fossil site at the Stonerose Interpretive Center in Republic. The Ginkgo Petrified Forest/Wanapum Recreation Area, located in Vantage, offers a unique glimpse into the state’s geological history.

With its vibrant cities, breathtaking landscapes, and progressive mindset, Washington State is a true gem of the Pacific Northwest. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or simply seeking adventure, this captivating state has something for everyone.

FAQ

What is the significance of the Washington State flag?

The Washington State flag stands out among other state flags with its vibrant green background. The green color represents the lush fields of the western part of the state, while the gold color surrounding an image of George Washington represents the golden wheat fields of eastern Washington.

What is the official state dance of Washington?

Washington State embraces its pioneer roots by designating the square dance as its official state dance. Originally brought to the western frontier by pioneers, the quadrille dance, which is the formal name for the square dance, became a popular social activity and was officially recognized in 1979.

Where is the largest freezer in the world located?

Preferred Freezer Services in Richland, Washington holds the title for being the largest refrigerated warehouse and automated freezer in the world, covering over 400,000 square feet. It serves as a testament to the state’s commitment to innovation and technological advancements.

Is it true that it is illegal to display a hypnotized person in Everett, Washington?

Yes, it is true. In Everett, Washington, there is a peculiar law that prohibits the exhibition of a hypnotized person in a store window or any public place. The law aims to ensure the responsible practice of hypnosis entertainment and prevent the exploitation of individuals under the influence of hypnotism or mesmerism.

Where was pickleball invented?

Pickleball, a popular sport known for its fusion of tennis, badminton, and ping pong, was actually invented in Washington State. Joel Pritchard and Bill Bell created the game in 1967 as a fun activity for their families. It has since grown into a widely enjoyed sport with millions of players across the country.

What is the story behind the bicycle in the tree on Vashon Island?

On Vashon Island in Washington State, there is a peculiar sight – a rusted bicycle that appears to be “growing” out of a tree. The origin of the bicycle in the tree is shrouded in mystery, with multiple stories circulating about its creation. Regardless of its true origins, it has become a popular tourist attraction and a symbol of the island’s uniqueness.

Was there really a fake town built on the roof of Boeing’s Plant 2 in Seattle?

Yes, during World War II, a fake town was constructed on the roof of Boeing’s Plant 2 in the Georgetown area of Seattle. The purpose of the fake neighborhood was to conceal the production of the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress from potential aerial bombers. The houses, trees, and cars in the fake town were all carefully crafted facades to provide an illusion of a normal residential area.

Is Washington the rainiest state in the United States?

No, despite its reputation for rainy weather, Washington is not actually the rainiest state in the United States. Seattle, in particular, is often associated with gloomy weather, but it ranks 32nd among US cities for annual rainfall. Other states, such as Florida, Alabama, and Hawaii, receive more rainfall than Washington.

Did Washington State have any unusual laws that have since been repealed?

Yes, Washington State used to have some peculiar laws that may leave you scratching your head. For example, it was once illegal to ride an “ugly” horse in Wilbur, and in Everett, it was illegal to display a hypnotized person in a store window. However, these laws have since been repealed or are no longer enforced.

What is the largest variety of land-living mollusk in North America?

Washington State holds the record for having the largest variety of land-living mollusk in North America – the Banana Slug. These slimy creatures can grow up to 9 inches long and are commonly found in the forested areas of the state. They may not be the prettiest creatures, but they have a unique place in Washington’s ecosystem.