Washington: Other Historic Sites Summary

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Mount St. Helens exploded violently in May, 1980, causing the worst volcanic disaster in the recorded history of the United States. The cataclysmic eruption and related events rank among the most significant geologic events in the United States during the twentieth century.

Adventuress

Location: Seattle, King County

Relevant issues: Naval history

Statement of significance: A schooner yacht and pilot boat, Adventuress is a significant example of the “fisherman profile” design of the yachts of Bowdoin B. Crowninshield, a noted early twentieth century American naval architect whose work was influential in the development of American yachts and fishing schooners. Built (1913) for the purpose of private Arctic exploration and hunting, Adventuress was acquired by the San Francisco Bar Pilots in 1914 and worked until 1952 as a pilot boat, guiding maritime traffic across the treacherous San Francisco Bar into the internationally important and busy port of San Francisco.

American and English Camps, San Juan Island

Location: Friday Harbor vicinity, San Juan County

Relevant issues: Political history, western expansion

Statement of significance: These sites are associated with the conflict about the water boundary between Vancouver Island, British Columbia, and the U.S. Oregon Territory, including the “Pig War of 1859,” when hostilities almost began between Americans and the British. The 1871 Treaty of Washington provided for a peaceful settlement of this dispute.

Arthur Foss

Location: Kirkland, King County

Relevant issues: Business and industry, military history, naval history, World War II

Statement of significance: Built in 1889, Arthur Foss is the only known wooden-hulled nineteenth century tugboat left afloat and in operating condition in the United States. It towed lumber and grain-laden square-rigged ships across the treacherous Columbia River and hence was a key participant in the Pacific coast lumber trade and the international grain trade. While under charter to the U.S. Navy, Arthur Foss was the last vessel to escape Wake Island successfully before Imperial Japanese forces attacked and captured that Pacific outpost in 1942.

Chinook Point

Location: Chinook, Pacific County

Relevant issues: Western expansion

Statement of significance: Captain Robert Gray’s May, 1792, discovery of the Columbia River at Chinook Point gave the United States a strong claim to the Pacific Northwest, a claim which was long disputed by Great Britain.

Fireboat No. 1

Location: Tacoma, Pierce County

Relevant issues: Naval history

Statement of significance: Fireboat No. 1, built (1929) and operated only on Puget Sound, is representative of most fireboats built prior to World War II throughout the United States. One of ten fireboats greater than fifty years of age left in the United States and one of the few remaining 1920’s fireboats, it is the least modified, has not undergone extensive modernization, and is well preserved. Today it is a monument and museum.

Fort Nisqually Granary

Location: Tacoma, Pierce County

Relevant issues: Western expansion

Statement of significance: The fort was the first permanent Anglo-American settlement on Puget Sound, serving as a communications and supply center for other trading posts. The fort’s one-story granary, built in 1843 of log construction, and the Factor’s House are the only surviving original examples of Hudson’s Bay Company buildings still standing in the United States. Moved in 1934 from their original site to Point Defiance Park, today both the granary and Factor’s House are restored and open to the public.

Lightship No. 83 “Relief”

Location: Kirkland, King County

Relevant issues: Naval history

Statement of significance: Known by its last official designation, Relief, No. 83 was built (1905) to serve as one of the first four lightships on the Pacific coast. It served to guide mariners to three major ports–Eureka on Humboldt Bay, San Francisco, and Seattle. No. 83 and its sister are the earliest surviving examples of American lightships.

Marmes Rockshelter

Location: Lyons Ferry, Franklin County

Relevant issues: American Indian history

Statement of significance: This is the most outstanding archaeological site yet discovered in the Northwest. Excavations at the site have revealed the earliest burials in the Pacific Northwest (c. 5500-4500 b.c.e.) and possibly the oldest human remains yet encountered in the Western Hemisphere (c. 11,000-9,000 b.c.e.). The eight strata at the site all contain cultural materials.

Paradise Inn

Location: Mount Rainier National Park, Pierce County

Relevant issues: Art and architecture, cultural history

Statement of significance: A rustic hotel with furnishings in the lobby that have a handcrafted artistry and Gothic feeling reminiscent of northern European woodwork. Built in 1916 on a smaller scale than the Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park, it was part of one of the earliest ski resorts in the United States.

Puget Sound Naval Shipyard

Location: Bremerton, Kitsap County

Relevant issues: Military history, naval history, World War II

Statement of significance: Puget Sound Naval Shipyard was the principal repair establishment for the U.S. Navy’s battle-damaged battleships and aircraft carriers, as well as smaller warships, of the Pacific Fleet during World War II. Five of the eight battleships bombed at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, were repaired at the shipyard and returned to duty. During the war, the shipyard repaired twenty-six battleships (some more than once), eighteen aircraft carriers, thirteen cruisers, and seventy-nine destroyers; in addition, fifty ships were built or fitted out at the yard. More than thirty thousand workers built, fitted out, repaired, overhauled, or modernized nearly four hundred fighting ships here between 1941 and 1945.

Seattle Electric Company Georgetown Steam Plant

Location: Seattle, King County

Relevant issues: Business and industry, science and technology

Statement of significance: Erected from 1906 to 1908, this reinforced concrete building houses the last operational examples of the Curtis vertical steam turbogenerator, the first type of large-scale steam turbine developed. This new technology established General Electric as a leader in the manufacture of steam turbines. The plant also exemplifies facets of the history of urban power use and development.

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