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Interesting Facts and Trivia about Washington
Washington state is known as the "Evergreen" state. Do not confuse Washington state on the west coast of the United States with Washington D.C. (the seat of U.S. Government) on the east coast.
Washington has the world's largest building at 4.3 million square feet of floor area. This is the Boeing Aircraft factory in Everett, Washington. [reference]
In Zillah, Washington, there is a gas station that looks like a teapot known as "Teapot Gas Station" and used to be one of the oldest operating gas station. But not any longer, because now it is closed. There was some scandal related to this which you can read about on everythingnorthwest.com.
Mount Saint Helen's
An article about state of Washington would not be complete unless we talk about Mount Saint Helens. It is an active volcano that erupted on May 18, 1980 ejecting 10 km3 of tephra 80,000 feet into the atmosphere with ash being deposited in 11 nearby states. The north face of slide away exposing molten rock which exploded a mix of lava and pulverized rock into Spirit Lake. The glaciers on the volcano melted and formed volcanic mudslides that reached the Columbia River nearly 50 miles away. [reference]
By the way, Washington State has more glaciers than the other 47 contiguous states combined. [reference]
This was not just a tiny eruption. It was a very large one measuring magnitude 5 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index scale (of which magnitude 8 is the highest value of any volcano eruption in history).
57 people and countless thousands of animals were killed.
Although Olympia is the capital of the state of Washington, more people are familiar with the city Seattle, which is the state's largest city with a population of 620 thousands.
Although it is quite wet in Seattle with an annual precipitation of 37.49 inches, it is not the rainiest city in the contiguous United States. (That title goes to Mobile Alabama with 67 inches of rain a year -- based on the 2007 WeatherBill Study that looked at rainfall of the 48 contiguous United State.)
The city of Seattle was popularized by the 1993 romantic comedy movie Sleepless in Seattle starring Tom Hank and Meg Ryan.
People who go visit Seattle, like to go up to the Space Needle. The Space Needle was built for the 1962 World's Fair and supposedly is designed to withstand a 9.1 magnitude earthquake as well as 200 miles per hour winds.
The Space Needle contains the world's first revolving restaurant. [reference] There is also a observation deck for those who want to look out over the city without eating. And of course, there is a gift shop -- needless to say.
The Space Needle shop there sells the "Emerald Fox Solitaire Earrings" which are made from the dust of the eruption of Mount Saint Helens. Others are selling jewelry made from Mt Saint Helen's Ash as well.
First Starbucks in Washington
Speaking of Seattle, Starbucks was founded in Seattle. The headquarters of Microsoft is close to Seattle in the nearby city of Redmond (only 16 miles away).
Starbucks is now the largest coffeehouse in the world with over 19,000 stores in 59 countries (and the numbers are changing everyday). The documentary DVD Starbucking (2005) chronicles a person named Winter who spent nearly 10 years trying to visit every Starbucks in the world. According to his website (which has collection of photos of Starbuck stores), he has visited 99.5% of all US/Canada stores.
Starbucks' first store opened in April 1971 in Seattle Pike Place Marketplace. [reference] Pike Place Marketplace has an interesting history in its own right and is a somewhat of a tourist attraction. One attraction is the Pike Place Fish Market known for their employees throwing three-foot salmons to each other.
Starbucks first store, known as Pike Place Starbucks, is located at 1912 Pike Pl, Seattle WA and you can still get coffee there. This Google Map link will get a good closeup street view of the store. Look closely, you can even see a tourist taking a picture of the store (at least that was what was on the Google street view photo showed at the time of this writing).
An interesting book relating to Starbucks is How Starbucks Saved My Life: A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else by Michael Gill who was an advertising executive who got laid off and later went to work for Starbucks and is much happier for it.
Taxes in Washington
As of April 2010, the sales tax 9.5% in Seattle. This is a combination of the state base sales tax of 6.5% percent which is combined with a local rate. Note that tax rates change all the time. No doubt, by the time you are reading this, it may have changed.
The state of Washington does not levy a personal income tax, and does not collect a corporate income tax or franchise tax.
Facts and statistics only applicable at the time of writing (August 2012). By the time that you read this, some of the information may already be outdated.