Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Caffeine State Of Mind

Magnet # 391:  Washington Rainbow Trout

Material:  Wood, Laminated Paper

Purchased By:  Mom & Dad

This marks the anniversary of when Washington achieved statehood in 1889.  To date, it's the only state that's been named in honor of a founding father of our nation - and it's pretty unlikely there will ever be another.  Sure, there's Madison, Wisconsin and Jefferson City, Missouri and, later, Jackson, Mississippi and Lincoln, Nebraska were both named after presidents, but those are all capitol cities.  And while attempts were made to name another state after Benjamin Franklin in what later became Tennessee and several prospective states tried to name themselves after Thomas Jefferson, they never came to be.  Some even tried to name Wyoming after Lincoln.  But when the settlers of the Washington Territory finally joined the rest of the Union, one of its most important early leaders received a singular honor he had earned through hard work and considerable sacrifice.

It's believed that the first European to reach what would become Washington was Spanish explorer Juan Perez, who landed his there while sailing the coast in 1774.  Soon, other Spanish ships were traveling to the area in an effort to curtail the Russians from claiming land to the South of their holdings in Alaska.  British ships also ventured there, including Captain George Vancouver who surveyed Puget Sound and named it after one of his officers.  But when the United States won its independence, its leaders were also eager to claim the area.  American Captain Robert Gray was sent by a Boston company to engage in fur trading there in 1792.  And in 1805, the Lewis and Clark expedition entered the area.  But the British weren't going to give it up easily, sending a Canadian explorer to explore the area.  Both nations set up fur trading operations in the region, while Spain eventually ceded their claims there to the United States.  After the War of 1812, Britain and the United States couldn't come to an agreement as to how to divide up the area and decided instead to establish it as the Oregon Country, which they both controlled.  Of course, that didn't work and the increasing tensions finally prompted the two nations to set their boundary at the 49th parallel.  At first, the land that would make up Washington was part of the Oregon Territory, but in 1853, the Washington Territory was formed.  People streamed into the area hoping to find gold like that was in nearby territories, but when they had no luck, stayed to work as farmers or loggers.  Most settlers were concentrated in the eastern part of the territory or the Puget Sound area, where Seattle was founded in 1853.  When Washington first applied for statehood, its constitution included women's suffrage and prohibition, but it was forced to remove them to received approval and become the 42nd state.  In just over twenty years, they were able to pass an amendment that allowed their women to vote much sooner than the rest of the country.  It was an early indication of the progressive mentality that would drive the Evergreen State.

I've never been to Washington, but it sounds like a pretty lovely place to visit.  Between its scenic coastline and lush rainforests, and even some semidesert land, it has considerable diversity in its natural wonders.  Olympic National Park, in the northwestern part of the state, boasts one of the densest rainforests anywhere in the world and receives some of the most rainfall in the United States.  It also extends all the way to the Pacific Ocean, where very little rain ever falls.  But travelers who want to be awed by towering peaks can head for Mount Rainier National Park just outside of Seattle, which is home to many glaciers and wildflowers, or Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, which was established after its 1980 explosion.  And in Puget Sound, the San Juan Islands are home to over a hundred islands and visitors there can see orcas, dolphins, harbor seals, sea lions, and sea otters.  Of course, for those who'd like to stick to more developed areas, there's Seattle and its iconic Space Needle which draws in our a million visitors each year.  It's also home to the Pike Place Market, where both Starbucks and Seattle's Best Coffee opened their first stores within a block of each other.  In fact, for coffee lovers, the Evergreen State is the place to be.  It's filled with all sorts of coffee shops, both chain and independents, in nearly every place where its citizens can be found.  Those folks love their coffee!  So get your own perk and check out this lovely destination - with all of its diversity, you should have all sorts of unique and exciting experiences.


  1. Even a confirmed tea lover can enjoy Washington. As you described the scenery is wonderful and all those coffee houses means more possibilities for chai for me.

  2. Glad to know I got it right - maybe I can experience it for myself someday.