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5 Fun Facts About February 17 In Washington History

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1. The Washington Monument was completed on February 17, 1885: The 555-foot stone obelisk that dominates the National Mall was finally finished after 36 years of construction. The monument was originally planned as a tribute to George Washington and his contributions to the country.

2. The first Washington State Library was founded on February 17, 1853: The library was established during the first legislative session of the Washington Territory. The collection included books for law, history, and literature, and it was housed in the office of the territorial secretary.

3. The Seattle General Strike began on February 17, 1919: Tens of thousands of workers in Seattle walked off the job in what would become the first general strike in U.S. history. The strike lasted for five days and shut down commerce in the city.

4. The Space Needle opened on February 17, 1962: The iconic tower was built for the 1962 World's Fair, and it quickly became a symbol of Seattle. The Space Needle, which stands at 605 feet, offers 360-degree views of the city and the surrounding area.

5. The Great Seattle Fire began on February 17, 1889: A cabinet maker's shop started a fire that would ultimately destroy 31 blocks of downtown Seattle, including most of the city's business district. The fire caused over $20 million in damage (equivalent to over $500 million today) but resulted in the city being rebuilt with stronger, fire-resistant materials.
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