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MARKER DATABASE
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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Washington Facts and Figures

Gleaned from the Historical Marker Database

 

on February 4, 2023

 
Image attributed to Chase & Sanborn Coffee Co.

 Washington State ranks 44th among states and provinces with markers in this database. Washington is a state in the United States of America located in the American West. It is also in the Northwest region. Washington State is some 71 thousand square miles in size with a population of around 7.6 million people. The state is divided into 39 counties and 35 of them have entries in this database. In Washington State we have discovered historical markers in 155 cities and towns lying in 181 different ZIP Codes.

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There are at least 911 historical markers in Washington State, by our count. We have cataloged 871 historical markers and 37 war memorials—each individually presented on 917 illustrated, annotated, and searchable pages of the Historical Marker Database. In addition, we are reasonably certain of another 40 historical markers in Washington State that we don’t yet have, and instead show on our Want List. Our correspondents have been finding and adding hundreds of markers a month to the database from all over the world, so next time you visit this page you will probably find that the numbers here have changed.

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The first Washington State marker in the database, Colville - Walla Walla Road, was added November 27, 2007. It was photographed near Hite in Spokane County and was erected in 1929. The last one added was submitted on November 10, 2022, and titled First Round The World Flight. It is in Seattle in King County and had been erected in 1924. Keeping in mind that the erection date of many markers in the database is not known, the earliest historical marker we know of in Washington State was erected in 1895. It was this one: Civil War Memorial, and one of our correspondents found it in Port Townsend in Jefferson County on August 18, 2021.

Washington State Historical Topics
202 • Industry and Commerce
194 • Settlements and Settlers
142 • Waterways and Vessels
140 • Native Americans
86 • Notable Buildings
83 • Architecture
82 • Exploration
57 • Parks and Recreational Areas
47 • Environment
47 • Man-Made Features
    ... and others ...

Washingtonians don’t want to forget their Industry and Commerce history. How do we know? Because there are more historical markers in the database from Washington State about Industry and Commerce—202 of them—than about any other historical topic. A close second is Settlements and Settlers with 194 markers.

The first marker added to the database with the Industry and Commerce topic was The Sutler's Store, added July 8, 2008. It had been erected in Vancouver in Clark County. The last one submitted was submitted on October 18, 2022, and titled History of the Rocky Ford Area. It had been erected near Ephrata in Grant County. The earliest marker erected with the Industry and Commerce topic that we have listed was erected in 1905. It is First Post Office in Seattle, found in Seattle in King County on November 11, 2016.

What is the most interesting historical marker in Washington State? What we know is that The Soviet Transpolar Flight of 1937 is the most viewed entry in the database from Washington State since it was added in 2008. It is located in Vancouver in Clark County. This year so far, the most viewed Washingtonian entry is located in Seattle in King County. It is Belltown Pan.

Counties, Cities and Towns

The Washington State county with the most historical markers listed in this database is King County, with 177 of them. It is followed by Pierce County with 104 markers. The Seattle area of King County has the highest number of markers within its limits, 157. In Pierce County the area with the most markers, 33, is Tacoma.

Historical Markers in These
Washington State Counties
177 • King County
104 • Pierce County
76 • Jefferson County
50 • Snohomish County
49 • Clark County
46 • Island County
40 • Spokane County
39 • Whatcom County
33 • Walla Walla County
27 • Skagit County
    ... and others ...

Checking the database for the city or town in Washington State with the most markers we again find Seattle at the top of the list with 157 markers in or near it. It is followed by Port Townsend in Jefferson County with 64 markers. For the ZIP Code with the most markers it’s 98368 at the top of the list with 64 markers in its delivery area. (ZIP Code 98368 is assigned to Port Townsend WA including the Adelma Beach, Beckett Point, Discovery Bay, Fort Worden, Ft Worden, Glen Cove, Leland, Mats Mats, Protection Is, Protection Island, Pt Townsend, and Townsend delivery areas.) It is followed closely by ZIP Code 98104 with 58 markers. (98104 is assigned to Seattle WA including the International, and Pioneer Square delivery areas.)

Historical Markers Near These
Washington State Cities and Towns
157 • Seattle
64 • Port Townsend
43 • Vancouver
34 • Spokane
33 • Tacoma
32 • Gig Harbor
29 • Bellingham
28 • Coupeville
26 • Walla Walla
21 • Port Gamble
    ... and others ...

Getting back to King County, the first marker added to the database from there, Smith Tower, was added September 16, 2009. It was erected in 1969 in Seattle. The last one submitted—also the last one submitted in all of Washington State—was uploaded on November 10, 2022, and is titled First Round The World Flight and was erected in 1924, in Seattle. One of the earliest marker erected in King County that we have listed was erected in 1905. More than one was erected that year. This is one of them: Carson D. Boren, found in Seattle on October 9, 2011.

Latest entry from Washington State. Click to go there
By Elisa Law, November 8, 2022
Latest Entry from Washington State
“First Round The World Flight”

And finally the first, last, and oldest markers from Port Townsend. The first: Fire Bell Tower, was added May 27, 2015. The last: Point Wilson Light added on May 4, 2022. The earliest marker erected was erected in 1895: Civil War Memorial, added on August 18, 2021.

Who Puts Up Historical Markers?

Washington State Department of Transportation is currently in charge of official historical markers found all over the state. You will also find official markers erected by the State Highway Commission, a predecessor. We have 36 of their markers in the database.

In addition, E Clampus Vitus—not government affiliated—also erected numerous historical markers in Washington State, and we have 39 of their Washington State markers in the database. Also, a number of counties have erected historical markers on their streets and roads and within their public areas, as have some cities and towns.

Latest entry from Washington State. Click to go there
By Cosmos Mariner, July 11, 2015
A Washington State Department of Transportation Historical Marker

Then there are federal government agencies that put up historical markers, especially in national parks and other areas under their jurisdiction. And finally, there are the numerous public and private organizations and individuals that erect markers. Some do this as a continual endeavor, and others once in a while, to mark something, someone, or someplace they find important or interesting. When one of our correspondents comes across one that satisfies our criteria, we add it to the database.

Off the Beaten Path

You’ll find that even the smallest, least populated, or most rural areas of Washington State have been marked with history. Check out Benton County, Whitman County and Hood River County. We've only found, respectively, 3, 2, and 1 historical markers there. Visiting one or more of these parts of Washington State might make for a pleasant road trip, and maybe you’ll discover more historical markers while you’re there. If you do, perhaps you’ll take the time to photograph them and, when you get home, become an HMdb correspondent by adding them to the database. Happy Hunting!

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Feb. 4, 2023