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10 Fast Facts About Washington State:
1/ The official state flower of Washington is the Coast Rhododendron, the official state tree is the Western Hemlock and the official state fish is the Steelhead Trout.
2/ The official state flag of Washington (see above) sees the state seal of Washington centered onto a light green background. Accordingly you can see George Washington and a date of 1889, which is the date that Washington joined the Union. The light green color itself of the Washington flag is unique, and a majority of the state flags tend to use blue backgrounds (with a few notable exceptions - New Mexico for example uses yellow, and Arkansas uses red).
3/ Bill Gates has a large 66,000 square foot mansion on the side of a hill overlooking Lake Washington. The mansion has a number of innovative technological features (as befits the former CEO of Microsoft), such as rooms that automatically adjust temperature and digital artwork based on individual badges that guests wear that record their preferences.
The house itself has seven bedrooms, six kitchens, 24 bathrooms and six fireplaces as well as a fitness suite with swimming pool, theater, dining room and library.
The average family residence in the USA covers 2,000 square feet. The home of Bill Gates is more than thirty-times that size and is reputed to be worth over $200 million.
4/ The highest point in Washington can be found at Mount Rainier at a height of 14,417 feet (4394 meters) which is the fourth highest among the states.
The average elevation in Washington State is 1,700 feet (520 meters).
5/ The growing of apples is big business in Washington, with the state estimated to produce 42% of ALL the apples that are grown in the United States, around $2.2 billion worth each year.
A little under a third of the apple crop (28 - 32%) is exported every year.
It is interesting to realize that even in a market as 'seemingly' unchanging as apples, that tastes over the years have actually changed considerably with regards to the particular varieties of apples that people like to eat, and the amount of choice that they demand.
In 1990 the production was: 70% Red Delicious, 20% Golden Delicious and 10% other varieties.
In 2010 the production had shifted to: 30% Red Delicious, 20% Red Gala Apples, 13% Fuji Apples, 13% Grannie Smith, 10% Golden Delicious, 10% Braeburn/Cripps Pink/Jonagold/Cameo Apples, and 4% other varieties.
6/ The largest bird in Washington by wingspan is the White Pelican, which can have a wingspan of nine feet or 108 inches.
The heaviest bird in Washington on the other hand is the Trumpeter Swan which has a wingspan of 'only' 80 inches, but which can weigh 23 pounds (one and two-thirds of a stone).
7/ The Boeing Factory which is to be found in Everett, Washington covers an area of 98.3 acres. There are around 30,000 people employed at the facility, and it uses 1 million light bulbs to keep everything illuminated.
Among the quirks of such a large building is that the workers use a network of 3.33 miles of underground tunnels to get around, as well as 1,300 bicycles.
8/ The five largest cities in Washington State in 2010 were:
According to a 2010 United States Census Bureau report, Seattle's 98118 zip code (in the Columbia City neighborhood) was the most multicultural zip code in the United States.
10/ Washington State is often now seen as a good indicator to the rest of the nation as to the effects of global warming, because the state has more glaciers than any other contiguous state (Alaska clearly has more!).
The alarming retreat of the glaciers in Washington has clearly been accelerating, and some of the statistics are shocking, with glaciers in the Northern Cascades having shrunk by 40% in the last 150 years, and the South Cascades Glacier having lost about half of its mass since 1928.
Temperatures in Washington State rose by an average of 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit in the 20th Century, and in the West of the state it was even higher at an estimated 2 degrees rise.