|UNOFFICIAL STATE SYMBOLS
"Al-ki" or "Alki"
Al-ki or Alki is an Indian word meaning "bye and bye." This motto
first appeared on the territorial seal designed by Lt. J.K. Duncan of
Gov. Stevens' surveying expedition. On one side it pictures a log
cabin and an immigrant wagon with a fir forest in the background; on
the other side, a sheet of water being traversed by a steamer and
sailing vessel, a city in perspective; the Goddess of Hope and an
anchor is in the center. The figure points at the significant word
"Alki." Settlers from the schooner Exact named their settlement on
Alki Point, New York. The new settlement was slower to grow than its
East Coast counterpart, however, so the name was changed to New
York-Alki, meaning "into the future" -- the 1850s version of the term
"bye and bye" or, "I will see you, bye and bye."
|"The Evergreen State"
On November 11, 1889, Washington became the 42nd state to enter
the Union. It is the only state in the Union that is named for a
president. Washington was nicknamed "The Evergreen State" by
C.T. Conover, pioneer Seattle realtor and historian, for it's abundant
evergreen forests. The nickname has never been officially adopted.
|State Capitol Building
The present state capitol building in Olympia, Washington, was first
occupied by the Legislature in March 1927. The design is
reminiscent of the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. It is also closest in
design to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Although not an
official state symbol, the image of this architectural structure truly
represents our state government and beautiful capitol city.
|Continuation --- Official Symbols
In 2007, the Walla Walla sweet onion was designated as the official
vegetable of the state of Washington. The Walla Walla Sweet is from
Walla Walla and is only grown properly in the Walla Walla Valley.
The Walla Walla Sweet finds its origins on the island of Corsica.
Over a century ago, a retired French soldier found a sweet onion
seed there and brought it to the Walla Walla Valley. The sweet onion
had impressive winter hardiness well-suited for the climate of
southeastern Washington. Soon he and other immigrants in the area
began harvesting the seed. After several generations of careful hand
selection, the sweet onion developed greater sweetness, size, and
shape. Today, there are many growers producing Walla Walla Sweet
onions on farmland in the Walla Walla Valley. Sweet onion season is
mid-June through September. The measure was a class project for a
seventh-grade honors social-studies class at Eatonville Middle
School. In prior years, the bill had also been a project of a Kirkland
Junior high school.
In 2007, the Pacific chorus frog was designated as the official
amphibian of the State of Washington. BecausePacific chorus frogs
live in every county in the state and on both sides of the Cascades,
they are an excellent choice as an emblem for the whole state. The
Pacific chorus frog is charming and makes beautiful sounds. Less
than two inches long, they swell their throat sacs to three times the
size of their heads to send their calls into the night. This amphibian is
useful because it eats insects, including mosquitoes. It is
recognizable by the black stripe through the eye to the shoulder, and
can be brown, tan, grey or green. A native amphibian, it is preyed
upon by bullfrogs, snakes, raccoons, shorebirds, hawks and ducks.
A third grade class at Boston Harbor Grade School in north Olympia,
demonstrated excellent knowledge about the political process in
making this proposal to the Legislature as the project involved
science, research, art, and persuasive writing.
The legislature designated the Lady Washington as the official ship
of the state of Washington in 2007. Built over a two-year period and
launched on March 7,1989, the ship was built in Aberdeen by the
Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority. Master shipwrights from all
over the Pacific Northwest constructed her near the confluence of the
Wishkah and Chehalis rivers. The Lady Washington is based in
Aberdeen. A reproduction sailing ship of the original
Washington/Lady Washington that sailed during approximately
1750-1798, the vessel type is a "brig," indicating the configuration of
the sails. The Office of the Secretary of State for the state of
Washington holds a mortgage on the vessel to secure the investment
of the people of Washington.
The geological history of our state has encompassed many great
changes, one of them being the many lava flows from volcanic
fissures. Centuries ago, the interior of Washington was swampy and
mild with many trees such as cypress, oak, elm and gingko growing in
wet areas. Layers of logs were preserved with each new lava flow,
and as the layers grew deeper, many of the logs became
waterlogged and lay protected in deep water. Over time, water
continued to seep through the lava and permeate the wood with
silica. Eventually, the wood fiber was completely replaced by silica,
thus petrifying many logs. The petrified wood is perfect in form and
detail to the original wood. In 1975, petrified wood was adopted as
the state gem. The best place to see petrified wood is the Gingko
Petrified Forest State Park in Vantage.
On April 17, 1979, the square dance became the official Washington
state dance. When the pioneers came west, they brought with them a
dance called the quadrille, which means square in French. The
pioneers liked the simpler term and so the square dance was born.
The dance is known for its series of figures and footwork. Dancers
are directed by a caller. It is easy to learn, a good form of exercise,
Washington is the nation's top apple-producing state, so
it is appropriate that the apple was named a state symbol
in 1989, the centennial year. A favorite fruit around the world,
the apple comes in many different colors, sizes and varities. From the
beautiful blossoms of spring, to the heavily laden branches in
autumn, the apple trees of eastern Washington represent one of the
largest industries in the state. The Washington apple is certainly one
of the most recognized symbols of the state worldwide.
A tartan is a design for the weaving of cloth consisting of
perpendicular bands of contrasting colors on a solid background.
The Washington State tartan was designed in 1988 by Vancouver,
USA Country Dancers Margaret McLeod van Nus and Frank
Cannonita to commemorate the Washington State Centennial
celebration. It is identified by the background color green, which
represents the rich forests of Washington, the "Evergreen State."
The perpendicular bands of contrasting colors represent the
following features: blue for the lakes, rivers and ocean; white for the
snow-capped mountains; red for the apple and cherry crops; yellow
for the wheat and grain crops; and black for the eruption of Mount St.
Helens. The bill, designating a state tartan, was signed into law in
1991. The Council of the Scottish Tartans Society also affixed its seal
to the official Certificate of Accreditation in 1991.
Following a four-year effort by students from Windsor Elementary
school near Cheney to have this behemoth designated as our state
fossil, the Legislature recognized in 1998 that the large, hairy
prehistoric elephants of the extinct genus Mammuthus roamed the
North American continent, including the Pacific Northwest, during the
Pleistocene epoch (ice ages). Mammoth is the common name given
to any member of an extinct genus Mammuthus of the elephant
family. The first North American mammoths migrated across the
Bering Strait from Asia down through Alaska about two million years
ago. Nearly all mammoths died out about 10,000 years ago. From
studies based on deposits of the Columbian mammoths, M. columbi,
it is clear that grasses featured prominently in their diets. The
maximum life expectancy of the mammoth would have been 60 to 65
years. The males grew to the size of modern adult elephants;
females were about half that size. Several years ago, fossils of the
Columbian mammoth were found on the Olympic Peninsula