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Historical Sites in Washington, Seattle, Tacoma, Olympic Peninsula

Things to do / Travel Guide

Historical Attractions in Seattle

Historical attractions abound in the various neighborhoods of Seattle. Just north of downtown Seattle is the Queen Anne neighborhood. The Queen Anne neighborhood was established in 1851 as one of Seattle's original neighborhoods, and many of the buildings that stand there today date back to that era. The local architecture is known for its red brick emphasis.

Capitol Hill, east of downtown was never anything more than a contender for the title of Washington State Capitol. It is considered by many to be the Capitol of trendiness and very nice houses.


Just west of Seattle, visitors to the peninsula of Elliot Bay can take a look at where the first settlers to the area founded the city.

Another historic area in Seattle is the Ballard Avenue Historic Landmark District, where you can still feel the influence of the Scandinavian immigrants who were the first residents of the area. The area is north of Seattle on Salmon Bay.

Historical Attractions in Tacoma

Tacoma's historical tour starts downtown at Job Carr's Cabin which is a monument to the first mayor of Tacoma. The original house was built in 1865 and was located a block away

Located just north of downtown Tacoma is the historic Stadium District, which was for many years an affluent area of Tacoma. This is reflected in the architecture of the neighborhood mansions, schools and of course, the Stadium.

Historic Attractions south of Tacoma

Olympia is the Capitol of Washington and the State Capital Campus hosts several points of historic interest.

Midway between Tacoma and Olympia, in the town of DuPont is Fort Nisqually, which was a major trading post for mid-1800's pioneers, now restored for visitors.

Historical Attractions in the Northern Cascades - Winthrop

In this area, the words “themed” and “historic” may be a bit interchangeable. Winthrop, on the north side of the Cascades loop is generally reflective of the Wild West. The first white settlers arrived in 1883 discovering gold in some of the hills. A short-lived “gold boom” followed for about a year. From then until the 1970s, Winthrop's economy revolved around agriculture, until the inauguration of the North Cascades Scenic Highway. Winthrop adopted a Wild West theme partly because it served as the inspiration for novelist Owen Wister to write the Western novel “The Virginian,” which later also became a television series. The primary historical attraction in the town is the Shafer Historical Museum, which chronicles the history of the town.

Historical Attractions in the Northern Cascades - Leavenworth

Back in the early 1960s, Leavenworth was a fledgling little mountain town until, all of the sudden, an Alpine-themed motel opened up. This little Alpine-themed motel inspired the whole town to undergo a complete makeover, transforming itself into a Bavarian village. Ever since, nearly every commercial building in town, from the gas stations to the banks and supermarkets, looks as if it had been built by magical gnomes and shipped across the Atlantic from Bavaria (some of the people in Leavenworth prefer to speak German, believe it or not!). Some tourists who flock to this area enjoy the famous Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum, which is home to over 4,000 nutcrackers that come in every color, shape and size.

Historical Attractions in Port Townsend

Many visitors enjoy wandering along the quaint streets of Port Townsend, taking in views of the many restored Victorian homes and commercial buildings. The town is divided into two areas, the waterfront commercial district and the residential uptown area, which sits on top of a bluff that looks over the waterfront. The town was designed this way so that the aristocratically-proper Victorian ladies wouldn't have to associate and mingle with the riffraff and sailors that frequented the waterfront. There is an excellent museum chronicling local history in the old city hall building on Water Street.

Historical Attractions around Puget Sound

The historic maritime origins of many of the towns and islands in and around the Puget Sound can be seen in the preserved buildings and small museums of the area. Explore La Conner, with its waterfront galleries and Northwest contemporary art scene, and the historic sites on Whidbey Island and in and around Bellingham. Close to Tacoma visitors should check out the historic maritime town of Gig Harbor.

San Juan National Historical Park is the place to visit to see the exact spot where Lyman Cutlar shot a pig that was digging up some potatoes. If you're wondering who cares about such things, consider that this solitary act triggered a full-blown war between two sovereign nations. The 1859 Pig War - a 12-year dispute between the United States and England, involving 3 British warships and many troops - began right here! Luckily, no humans were killed and the European negotiated settlement favored the United States. Since that time, San Juan Island has done its part in the quest for world peace.

Historical Sites in Seattle, Tacoma, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier, Washington and The Cascades

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