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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 (Tour Leg)

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.

Idaho Line to Spokane (Tour Leg)

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.