Washington state is bounded by Canada to the north, Idaho to the east, Oregon to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the West. Seattle, the largest city in Washington and the Pacific Northwest, is the regions commercial, financial, transportation, and industrial hub. Seattle is a major port of entry into Far Eastern, Alaskan, and Canadian trade. Settled in 1851-1852, Seattle remained a small lumber town until the coming of the Great Northern Railroad in 1893. The city then became a boom town beginning with 1897 Alaska gold rush and then developed into the nation’s link with Alaska. It grew further with the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition (1909) and the opening of the Panama Canal (1914). Washington state’s leading industry today is the manufacturing of jet airplanes, missiles, and spacecraft. The state’s second largest industry is food processing, this is based on the states diversified irrigated farming and dairying as well as abundant fishing resources.
The Columbia Gazeteer, 1998