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The state is named after George Washington, the 1st President of the United States. It is the only U.S. state named after a president. Residents are called "Washingtonians" (emphasis on the third syllable, pronounced as tone). Washington is often called Washington State or the State of Washington to distinguish it from the District of Columbia.
Washington is a leading lumber producer. Its rugged surface is rich in stands of Douglas fir, hemlock, ponderosa and white pine, spruce, larch, and cedar. The state holds first place in apples, lentils, dry edible peas, hops, pears, red raspberries, spearmint oil, and sweet cherries, and ranks high in apricots, asparagus, grapes, peppermint oil, and potatoes. Livestock and livestock products make important contributions to total farm revenue and the commercial fishing catch of salmon, halibut, and bottomfish makes a significant contribution to the state's economy.
Manufacturing industries in Washington include aircraft and missiles, shipbuilding and other transportation equipment, lumber, food processing, metals and metal products, chemicals, and machinery. Early prominent industries in the state included agriculture, lumber, shipping, fishing, salmon canning and mining.
Washington has over 1,000 dams, including the Grand Coulee, built for a variety of purposes including irrigation, power, flood control, and water storage. During the Great Depression, a series of hydroelectric dams were constructed along the Columbia river as part of a project to increase the production of electricity. This culminated in 1941 with the completion of the Grand Coulee Dam, the largest dam in the United States. In eastern Washington the Hanford Works atomic energy plant was opened in 1943 and played a major role in the construction of the nation's atomic bombs.
Among the major points of interest: Mt. Rainier, Olympic, and North Cascades National Parks. Mount St. Helens, a peak in the Cascade Range, erupted in May 1980. Also of interest are Whitman Mission and Fort Vancouver National Historic Sites; and the Pacific Science Center and the Space Needle, in Seattle.
Everett is the site of the world's largest building, Boeing's final assembly plant. United Airlines was originally owned by the Boeing Airplane Company. Medina is the home of the United States wealthiest man, Microsoft's Bill Gates. Microsoft Corporation is located in Redmond. Washington is the birthplace of both Jimi Hendrix (Seattle) and Bing Crosby (Tacoma). Starbucks, the biggest coffee chain in the world was founded in Seattle.
King county the largest county in Washington was originally named after William R. King, Vice President under Franklin Pierce; it was renamed in 1986, after civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Three ships of the United States Navy, including two battleships, have been named USS Washington in honor of the state.
The world's first soft-serve ice cream machine was located in an Olympia Dairy Queen. Washington is home to many innovative Internet companies, including Amazon.com, Classmates.com, Whitepages.com, and Marchex. Popular games Pictionary, Pickle-ball, and Cranium were all invented in Washington.