Washington Historic Sites

By Leslie Stroope Premium

Fort Vancouver National Historic Site

612 E. Reserve St., Vancouver, WA 98661, (360) 816-6230, <>: Built as a fur-trading hub, Fort Vancouver became the region’s first military post – and later, the first National Historic Site west of the Mississippi River. Today, the site boasts a national park, an archaeological site, an international fur-trade emporium, an operating airfield, a waterfront trail and an environmental center on the banks of the Columbia River.

Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument

Mount St. Helens Visitor Center, 3029 Spirit Lake Highway, Castle Rock, WA 98611, (360) 274-0962, <>: Through artifacts, trails and tales, relive the May 18, 1980, eruption that killed 57 people, and radically altered the landscape surrounding the still-active volcano.

Nez Percé National Historical Park

39063 US Highway 95 Spalding, ID 83540 (208) 843-7001, <>: Thirty-eight sites across Washington, Oregon, Montana and Idaho commemorate the history of this American Indian tribe, which still occupies the area. In Washington, visit Buffalo Eddy, the site of ancient petroglyphs on both sides of the Snake River.

Nordic Heritage Museum

3014 NW 67th St., Seattle, WA 98117, (206) 789-5707, <>: This museum highlights the contributions of Nordic immigrants and their descendants in the development of the Pacific Northwest. Be sure to see Dream of America, an exhibit recounting Nordic immigrants’ journey to the area through artifacts, photographs and personal stories.

Pioneer Farm Museum & Ohop Indian Village

7716 Ohop Valley Road E, Eatonville, WA 98328, (360) 832-6300, <>: Travel back in time to Washington’s pioneer days at this 1880s-era homestead and Indian village. You can try your hand at making arrowheads, attempt target shooting with a bow and arrow, or help chip out a canoe.

Washington State History Museum

1911 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, WA 98402, (253) 272-3500, <>: Artifacts, exhibits and high-tech displays let you travel into Washington’s past. In The Great Hall of Washington History, 35 “human sculptures” share stories in settings including a Hooverville shack, a traditional Southern Coast Salish plank house and a Walla Walla general store.

Whitman Mission National Historic Site

7 miles west of Walla Walla, off Highway 12 and Swegle Road, (509) 522-6360, <>: After a measles outbreak decimated half of their tribe, Cayuse Indians killed Marcus and Narcissa Whitman, missionaries who helped establish the Oregon Trail. The 1847 attack shocked the nation and prompted Congress to make Oregon a US territory. You can visit the mass grave where the Whitmans are buried, see a slideshow about the couple and wander the grounds.

Visitor Information

Washington State Tourism

Box 42525, Olympia, WA 98504 (800) 544-1800


From the September 2007 issue of Family Tree Magazine