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Washington Facts & Trivia

Published by Steve Campion. Category: HA! List

NOTE: Beware the “facts” below! Now that it’s the second of April, we thought we should officially label this page as an April Fool’s prank.  Disposable piano?  Roman submarine?  David Seatac?  Was there ever a doubt?

In list after list, WA-List shares many facts about the state of Washington.  If we do our job correctly, our articles provide context so that the facts become more than mere trivia. That doesn’t mean we don’t end up with a lot of interesting miscellaneous bits of information.  We certainly do!  And some of these facts don’t easily fit into our usual topical lists.  They’re more random than that.  Yes, we’ll admit they’re trivia.  But a list of trivial facts can be fun and educational at times, too.

LITTLE-KNOWN FACTS ABOUT WASHINGTON

  1. At sunrise on the first day of spring each year, the sun, the Space Needle, and the front door of the Bellevue Library are in precise alignment.
  2. Ritzville is the birthplace of the disposable piano, invented by Agatha Randall (right) in 1936.
  3. On May 10, 2003, Mountaineer Paul Leroux of Packwood became the first man to summit Mount Rainier and Mount Everest on the same day.
  4. Metalworker John W. Nordstrom opened his first shoehorn store in Seattle in 1898.  He began selling shoes three years later when his blacksmith absconded with the company forge and all the shoehorn molds.
  5. Long before Seattle earned fame for its coffee culture, Vancouver was the largest coffee roaster in America. The Columbia River, in fact, was named for the Colombian plantations that supplied the river port with its fresh coffee beans.
  6. During a Seinfeld script read in 1997, the four central actors discovered that they had all visited the same Kennewick Mobil gas station sometime in the 80s. The gas station, now a Chevron, has a brass plaque commemorating the coincidence attached to the corn dog warmer.
  7. Sea-Tac Airport was named for David M. Seatac (pictured as a passenger in the photo at right), an engineer/mechanic working for Bill Boeing in the 1920s. One of Seatac’s innovations led to the separate passenger and baggage compartments we see on most airlines today.
  8. Director Richard Quine grew up in Walla Walla and based the 1958 film Bell Book and Candle on a series of events he saw unfold in his family’s apartment building on Pyewacket Avenue when he was eleven years old.
  9. An army tracking center near Gorst in Kitsap County is tasked with monitoring teenage boys with saggy pants nationwide.
  10. Washington’s Commissioner of Public Lands was a hereditary monarchy for the first four decades after statehood. The office was first held by Anatoli Mazzi (right) and handed down through three generations of the Mazzi family until 1939 when Homer Mazzi died without leaving an heir. The state legislature has given the job to the most generous lobbyist ever since.
  11. A Roman submarine washed ashore in Westport during a 1963 winter storm. It’s now on display at the Grays Harbor Antiquities Museum in Montesano.
  12. Rob Hollis of Napavine is the only man known to have been raised by a family of Sasquatch. His ape foster parents finally enrolled him in a human school when he was 15, because he expressed an interest in small engine repair — a skill that was taught at Napavine Middle School but not in the surrounding woods.
  13. All six mens singles tennis champions at Wimbledon between 1924 and 1933, were residents of Sequim. Five of them, including Abner Brougham (right), were members of the Dungeness Tennis Club.
  14. Every citizen of Hatton in Adams County is a Sagittarius.  The newspaper has printed only that sign’s horoscope since 2003.  A Capricorn briefly rented an apartment on Cedar Street in late 2006, but moved on after a fistfight at the grange hall.
  15. Five asteroid strikes hit just outside Waterville in 1967. No one was hurt and no structural damage was reported. In fact, the WSU extension service credited the residual airborne particulates for record crop yields the following year.  The impact craters are clearly visible on internet satellite maps.
  16. The winning numbers for the state lottery are made available in a press release twenty minutes before each “live” drawing so members of the media can prepare their screen graphics.
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2 Responses to “Washington Facts & Trivia”

  1. Kari Says:

    Love the Seinfeld factoid. Ha!

  2. theMark Says:

    Thanks! I did not know most of these things! I learn so much from this site…