Washington's 125th Anniversary
Washington Commemorates 125 Years of Statehood on November 11, 2014!
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.
Plans for This Year
The Washington State Historical Society and the Washington Secretary of State are planning a smaller but no less important commemoration and we would love to have you join us.
We invite you to review this site for ideas on how you can celebrate this event in your community:
- Create your own local programming to celebrate Washington 125.
- Use the Washington 125 logo to brand your 2014 events (downloadable version is available on the Washington 125 website).
- Think about ways to give a “birthday” present to Washington through a public service project that benefits your community.
- Refurbish, update or make available (especially digitally) a project or publication that was done in 1989.
- Send a photo of your events or projects to be included in a “Digital Album of Washington, 2014.” Send your photos and captions to Kimberly Ketcham at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Partner with a local museum, cultural group or historic site on a heritage project.
- Attend and participate in the November 11, 2014 commemoration at the Legislative Building in Olympia which will have special programs, exhibits and performances, and a ceremony for the 1989 renewable time capsule in the building.
See how the Centennial was commemorated and get ideas for the 125th Anniversary!
All commemorative events and programs will be listed on the Washington 125 website.
Check out photos from what others are doing!
Don't forget to include the following in your social media posts about Washington 125:
We are no longer taking exhibitor requests for the November 11 commemorative event. Thank you!
Logos and QR Code to WA125.org
- Washington 125 Color Logo (.jpg)
- Washington 125 Logo (.jpg)
- Washington 125 Logo Use Guidelines
- WA125.org QR Code
Meet the Washington125 Ambassador: Seymour History!
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 musuems, 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 email@example.com or 253-798-5902.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.