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Industry, Commerce, and Labor

Washington commerce has its roots in the expansive trading networks established by the region’s earliest inhabitants. Euro-American commercial and industrial activity began with the trading posts of the Hudson’s Bay Company, first in Fort Vancouver (1826) and then Fort Nisqually (1833). Since these times, the state’s industry, commerce, and labor has grown by leaps and bounds. Early industries were timber-related, taking advantage of the region’s vast timber stands, followed by fishing and mining. The arrival of the railroad in the 1870s and 1880s caused a surge in commercial activity, as the rails first brought laborers to complete the tracks followed by goods and even more people to the region. The region’s hydro-electric capacity led to incredible public works projects in the first half of the twentieth century, resulting in the construction of the Bonneville and Grand Coulee dams.

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.

Almira to Coulee Dam (Tour)

Travel through dry wheatlands and occasional patches of scab rock and sagebrush. The route rises slowly with curves and dips, reaching the Columbia River, then descending dizzily by a winding three-mile grade into the canyon carved by the river to one of the wonders of the world, Coulee Dam, a project begun in 1933 and completed in 1941.

Almira to Coulee Dam (Tour Leg)

Travel through dry wheatlands and occasional patches of scab rock and sagebrush. The route rises slowly with curves and dips, reaching the Columbia River, then descending dizzily by a winding three-mile grade into the canyon carved by the river to one of the wonders of the world, Coulee Dam, a project begun in 1933 and completed in 1941.