Washington's 125th Anniversary

Washington Commemorated 125 Years of Statehood on November 11, 2014!


See what state agencies and other organizations did for the Centennial

Background Information

Washington became a separate territory from Oregon on March 2, 1853. Washington Territory drafted a constitution in 1878 through Walla Walla Constitutional Convention in 1878 but it was rejected by Congress.

On February 22, 1889, Congress passed the Enabling Act for Washington State and a Constitutional Convention was held in Olympia in July, 1889. On October 1, 1889, male Washington residents voted to approve the Constitution and on November 11, 1889, President Benjamin Harrison signed the proclamation admitting Washington to the Union. (1889 Constitutional Convention, Washington State Archives.)

Washington commemorated Admission Day in 1914 and in 1939 there was a year-long "Golden Jubilee" for the state's 50th Birthday with commemorations statewide culminating with a special event in Olympia on November 11, 1939. The 75th anniversary was centered around ceremonies on November 11, 1964 at the legislative building in Olympia. (1964 commemoration, Washington State Archives.)

In 1989, Washington commemorated the Centennial of Statehood in a big way with projects and programs throughout the state. Each county participated and many state agencies participated as well. 



After the State Constitution was approved by a vote of the elected officers in Washington, a certified copy was sent to President Harrison for his approval before Washington could be proclaimed a state. Days went by and no word. On November 4, 1889, a message was received that Governor Moore forgot to sign the Consititution and President Harrison could not approve it. Overnight, a new copy was prepared in long-hand (no copiers back then), and it was sent to the president by the courier the next day. The President was then able to declare Washington's Constitution approved and the State of Washington was admitted to the Union on November 11, 1889.

In frustration, the papers criticized Governor Moore by saying, "Washington's territorial governor must be a terrible ignoramus. By reason of his failure to properly certify to and sign the constitution upon which the president's proclamation must issue he has delayed matters for at least a week." - The Chehalis County Chronicle in Elma.


Learn about the Capsule Keepers!

Washington 125 is sponsored by WSECU.

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See how the Centennial was commemorated and get ideas for the 125th Anniversary!


Let us know about your Washington 125 programs and activities. 

All commemorative events and programs will be listed on the Washington 125 website. 
Check out photos from what others are doing!

Make it easier for your audience to connect to all the plans for Washington 125 by using a QR code to direct traffic to this website. Download the QR Code. To have your events posted, contact Kimberly Ketcham at 


Don't forget to include the following in your social media posts about Washington 125: 
  • #SeymourHistoryWA
  • #WA125
  • @historymuseum

Submit your images of Washington 125 Activites to our Digital Album


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Meet the Washington125 Ambassador: Seymour History!

Seymour for WA125 v 1

Seymour History, the mascot for the Washington State Historical Society, proudly represents the celebratory efforts for the Washington 125th Anniversary. Seymour is an Olympic Marmot, which is the official land mammal for Washington State. He has been traveling to museums, landmarks, parks, and other historical locations in Washington and around the United States learning as much as he can about our shared history. Part of Seymour's travels this year will be to the various observances of this big occasion. 

Look for photos of Seymour's travels in his photo gallery or in the upcoming photo gallery for the Washington125 celebrations. If your organization would like to host Seymour and share pictures of the experience with us, contact Kimberly Ketcham, Marketing & Communications Director for the Washington State Historical Society, at or 253-798-5902. 

Seymour History for WA125 (.jpg)

For inspiration on how to involve Seymour, see the Washington 125 Photo Gallery.



When Does the Washington125 Committee Meet?

The Washington 125 effort is cooperatively led by the Washington State Historical Society and the Washington Secretary of State. For more information or to be added to the notification list, email Susan Rohrer at