On Nov. 11, 1889, President Benjamin Harrison signed a proclamation admitting Washington Territory to the Union. To mark the occasion, organizers will gather at the Legislative Building on Tues., Nov. 11, to host a variety of events, including a re-creation of the telegram delivery that announced Washington’s statehood at 3:09 p.m., making it precisely 125 years ago. Washingtonians and local organizations are also encouraged to participate in a coordinated tweet saying: “Happy Birthday Washington #WA125” at exactly 3:09 p.m.
There will be opportunities to tour the Legislative Building, a slide show displaying centennial legacy projects from the last 25 years, memorabilia from the 1980 centennial celebration, the Washington State Constitution, and Gilbert Stuart’s famous one-dollar bill portrait of George Washington, courtesy of the Tacoma Art Museum. In between activities and performances, visitors can peruse additional exhibitions from state agencies, heritage groups, and arts and culture organizations, as well as enjoy a piece of the five-foot-long Washington-shaped cake.
A new exhibit highlighting the major stories of Washington statehood will open on that day. Washington 1889: Blazes, Rails and the Year of Statehood, a privately funded exhibit presented by Legacy Washington and the Office of Secretary of State, will feature an original 42-star flag, artifacts from the Great Seattle Fire, a replica of the Washington State Constitution and more. The public exhibit will be on display in the lobby of the Office of Secretary of State, located in the Legislative Building, 416 Sid Snyder Ave. SW, in Olympia. More information is available online here.
The event will also include high school marching bands, live music, dance performances, and speeches by Secretary of State Kim Wyman, Washington State Historical Society Executive Director Jennifer Kilmer, and Governor Jay Inslee.
Festivities begin at 1 p.m. on Tues., Nov. 11, at the Legislative Building on the Capitol Campus in Olympia, Wash. The event is sponsored by the Washington State Employees Credit Union (WSECU), as well as donations from Wagner’s European Bakery & Cafe, Johnson-Cox Co., Crystal Springs, and Foss Waterway Seaport.
A copy of the official event program is available online at washingtonhistory.org/files/library/wa125-official-program.pdf.