Historic Cities & Places in Washington

Historic Cities & Places in Washington

Washington state is home to a plethora of historic cities and places that offer a captivating journey through time. From the landing of Spanish Captain Don Bruno de Heceta in 1775 to the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1805, these landmarks preserve the rich heritage of this beautiful region. Whether you’re an avid history enthusiast or simply looking for a unique travel experience, exploring the best historical sites in Washington state is a must.

Key Takeaways

  • Washington state is brimming with historic cities and places that provide insight into its diverse past.
  • Exploring the best historical sites in Washington is a must for history lovers and curious travelers.
  • From Goldendale’s connection to astronomy to Ilwaco’s fishing and logging history, each town offers a unique perspective.
  • Edison, known for its artistic heritage, showcases remnants of the Equality Colony.
  • Other notable historic cities and places in Washington include Steilacoom, Molson, Friday Harbor, and Neah Bay.

Goldendale – A Gateway to the Stars

Goldendale, a city with fewer than 3,500 residents, holds a significant place in Washington’s history due to its connection to astronomy. The city’s Goldendale Observatory, established in 1973, offers visitors the opportunity to look through a giant telescope and explore the wonders of the night sky. Additionally, Goldendale is home to the Presby Museum, where visitors can learn about the town’s past, and the Maryhill Stonehenge, a replica of the famous monument in England, built to honor the victims of World War One.

Goldendale Observatory

The Goldendale Observatory is a must-visit destination for astronomy enthusiasts and anyone curious about the wonders of the cosmos. With its state-of-the-art telescope, visitors can observe stars, planets, and celestial objects with exceptional clarity.

Located on a hill overlooking the city, the observatory provides a breathtaking view of the night sky. The knowledgeable staff is available to answer questions and help visitors navigate the wonders of the universe. Whether you’re a seasoned stargazer or a beginner, the Goldendale Observatory offers a unique and educational experience for all.

Presby Museum

For those interested in delving into the history of Goldendale, a visit to the Presby Museum is a must. This small and charming museum showcases artifacts and exhibits that highlight the town’s rich past.

Visitors can explore displays that depict life in Goldendale throughout the years, including exhibits on early settlers, Native American history, and the impact of the railroad. The museum also hosts special events and educational programs to engage visitors of all ages.

Maryhill Stonehenge

A surprising feature of Goldendale is the Maryhill Stonehenge, a full-scale replica of the iconic monument in England. Built by Samuel Hill in 1918 as a memorial to the fallen soldiers of World War One, this unusual attraction is an unexpected sight in Washington state.

The Maryhill Stonehenge offers a unique opportunity to explore the ancient world and pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice. The site also provides stunning views of the surrounding landscape, making it a popular spot for photographers and nature lovers alike.

Attraction Description
Goldendale Observatory Experience the wonders of the night sky at this state-of-the-art observatory. View stars, planets, and more through a giant telescope.
Presby Museum Delve into Goldendale’s history at this charming museum. Explore exhibits and artifacts that showcase the town’s past.
Maryhill Stonehenge Visit the full-scale replica of the famous monument in England. Reflect on the sacrifices of World War One while enjoying scenic views.

Ilwaco – A Coastal Gem

Located in the southwest corner of Washington, Ilwaco is a small city with around 1,000 residents. This charming coastal town has a rich history as a fishing and logging community, offering visitors a glimpse into its vibrant past.

One of the highlights of Ilwaco is the Colbert House, a museum that showcases artifacts and exhibits related to the town’s history. This fascinating museum takes you back in time to explore Ilwaco’s fishing heritage and learn about the lives of the early settlers.

Another iconic landmark in Ilwaco is the North Head Light, a historic lighthouse established in 1898. Standing tall on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the North Head Light offers spectacular views and serves as a reminder of the town’s maritime history.

If you’re interested in the exploration of the American West, a visit to the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center is a must. This interpretive center provides a comprehensive overview of the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition, allowing you to step into the shoes of the explorers and understand their journey.

Ilwaco also has a unique cultural influence from Finnish immigrants, who once played a significant role in shaping the community. While in Ilwaco, don’t miss the opportunity to experience an authentic Finnish sauna, a traditional part of Finnish culture. It’s a relaxing and rejuvenating experience that will leave you feeling refreshed.

With its picturesque coastal setting, rich history, and unique cultural influences, Ilwaco is a true gem that offers something for every visitor.

Attractions Description
Colbert House A museum showcasing Ilwaco’s fishing history and artifacts.
North Head Light A historic lighthouse with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.
Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center An educational center that tells the story of the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition.
Finnish saunas Experience the traditional Finnish sauna culture in Ilwaco.

Edison – A Quaint Town with an Artistic Heritage

Edison, a small town in Skagit County, holds a special place in Washington state’s rich historical tapestry. Established in 1869, Edison boasts a unique claim to fame as the former home of the Equality Colony, a utopian experiment founded in 1897 by Maine socialists. Although the colony closed its doors in 1907, the town of Edison still bears remnants of this fascinating chapter in its history, offering visitors a glimpse into its past.

When exploring Edison, visitors can immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the coastal region, which surrounds the town. Picturesque spots like Oyster Dome and Dogfish Point provide breathtaking vistas and tranquil moments to be savored.

In addition to its natural charm, Edison is known for its artistic heritage. The town is home to several establishments that celebrate creativity and culinary delights. One notable spot is Mariposa Taqueria, a beloved local restaurant renowned for its delicious Mexican cuisine. Whether you’re craving authentic tacos, flavorful burritos, or mouthwatering salsas, Mariposa Taqueria is a must-visit for food enthusiasts.

For those with a sweet tooth, a visit to the famous Breadfarm bakery in Edison is essential. This artisan bakery has gained a reputation for its delectable handmade bread and pastries. From crusty baguettes to buttery croissants, Breadfarm offers a range of baked goods that are crafted with care and passion, satisfying even the most discerning palates.

In summary, Edison’s quaint charm, combined with its historical significance and thriving artistic scene, makes it a delightful destination for anyone seeking a unique and enriching experience. Whether you’re exploring remnants of the Equality Colony, indulging in flavorful cuisine at Mariposa Taqueria, or savoring the artisanal delights of Breadfarm, Edison offers a taste of Washington state’s diverse cultural heritage.

Explore Edison’s Artistic and Culinary Delights:

  • Visit Mariposa Taqueria for authentic Mexican cuisine
  • Savor handmade bread and pastries at Breadfarm


Washington state is a treasure trove of historic towns and sites. Each town offers a unique glimpse into the state’s rich past, showcasing its diverse historical tapestry. From Goldendale’s connection to astronomy to Ilwaco’s fishing and logging history, these destinations provide a fascinating journey through time.

Edison, with its artistic heritage and remnants of the Equality Colony, adds a different perspective to Washington’s history. Other towns like Steilacoom, Molson, Friday Harbor, and Neah Bay also contribute to the renowned historic places in Washington, further highlighting the state’s captivating past.

Whether you’re a history lover or simply curious about the past, these historic cities and sites in Washington are well worth exploring. Discover the hidden stories and embark on a journey that will connect you with the rich heritage of this magnificent state.


What are some historic landmarks in Washington state?

Washington state is home to numerous historic landmarks, including the Goldendale Observatory, Maryhill Stonehenge, North Head Light, and the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center.

Which are the best historical sites to visit in Washington?

Some of the must-visit historical sites in Washington state include Goldendale, Ilwaco, and Edison, which offer unique insights into the state’s history and heritage.

What can I see at the Goldendale Observatory?

The Goldendale Observatory offers visitors the opportunity to look through a giant telescope and explore the wonders of the night sky. It provides a unique astronomical experience.

What is the significance of Maryhill Stonehenge?

Maryhill Stonehenge is a replica of the famous monument in England. It was built to honor the victims of World War One and serves as a symbol of remembrance in Washington state.

What can I learn at the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center in Ilwaco?

The Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center in Ilwaco tells the story of the famous explorers’ expedition. Visitors can learn about their journey and the impact they had on the region.

What is the history of Edison and the Equality Colony?

Edison was settled in 1869 and was once home to the Equality Colony, a utopian experiment founded in 1897. Although the colony closed in 1907, its historical remnants can still be seen in the town.

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