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Architecture

Washington became a U.S. Territory in 1853, achieving statehood in 1889. Like other Pacific Northwest states, architecture in the Evergreen State has a more recent history with the oldest buildings dating from the 1850s. As the state grew in population, with settlements giving way to cities and homestead claims evolving into farmsteads, its architecture began to take shape. The three largest cities—Seattle, Spokane, and Tacoma—showcase the tallest buildings in the state as well as architecture from a variety of time periods. Historic downtown corridors (and courthouses in county seats) anchor many of the state’s smaller communities, and often continue to relate to the industries and landscape that first defined the community.

Seattle to Olympia

This section of the Pacific Highway lies through Washington’s State Capital and some of its largest cities. Skirting the bays of lower Puget Sound, the tour passes through the State’s most densely populated and most highly industrialized area, yet woodland stretches and thinly settled fanning districts are met with just outside these centers.

Swauk Creek to Maryhill

This tour follows the Yakima River through both narrow, rugged and expansive agricultural valleys as the river shaped the area’s development patterns. The tour climbs the Horse Heaven hills between the Yakima River Valley and the Columbia River Gorge.

Spokane to Collins House

This section of US 195, known as the Inland Empire, or Palouse Highway, traverses one of the most fertile farming areas in the United States. Practically the entire route runs through rolling hills, treeless except for clumps of willow and brush along the creeks and in the swampy lowlands.

Idaho Line to Spokane

The northern section of the route winds through sparsely settled foothill country cut by small streams, dotted with lakes, and interspersed with prairies and shallow valleys. A hundred years ago these hills were covered with open forests of lodgepole and ponderosa pine, tamarack, and fir; the prairies were unbroken expanses of bunch grass; and the watercourses ran full and clear.

San Juan Islands

This tour follows the San Juan Islands Scenic Byway. Follow the historic canoe route of the Coast Salish people aboard Washington State Ferries from Anacortes to the beautiful San Juan Islands. Once there, the Islands are easily accessible by multiple modes—walking, bicycling, transit, automobile, and even by kayak.