July 16, 2024

Washington's 125th Anniversary

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

Nov 06, 2014

Washington became a separate territory from Oregon on March 2, 1853. Washington Territory drafted a constitution in 1878 through the 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

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