Which state turned down a fortune in gold?

That awkward distinction goes to Washington state.  In the mid 1800’s the territory of Washington was considerably larger than the current state we recognize.  Oregon had just achieved statehood and established north and east borders that helped define Washington territory into something that looked like the solid lines below:

But in 1860, gold was discovered in the mountains in the eastern part of Washington territory.  Instead of seeing it as a fortuitous windfall that would enrich the entire region, the territorial government feared the worst.  Just two years before, gold had been discovered in Colorado and almost immediately 50,000 people descended upon the area.  The influx brought a level of lawlessness that the territorial government of Colorado found extremely difficult to control.


And worrying about the lawlessness of tens of thousands of miners was only part of the problem for the territory of Washington.  Governing a wide area separated by mountains was a task in itself, but the cultural makeup of the type of people flooding the mountain areas was quite different from the settlers who were already in the region, based primarily near Puget Sound.  Fearing that the large numbers of newcomers would soon have a political voice that could change the cultural landscape of the soon-to-be-state, lawmakers made the decision to divide the territory and cut off those “problem” mountains.


The region they spun-off was later divided between Idaho and Montana.


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5 Responses to Which state turned down a fortune in gold?

  1. Love your posts and when do you expect to finish your book?

  2. Thanks Sandy. I think I have a couple of months of work yet. I’ve only written 25 chapters, which means I have 25 to go. After tomorrow I hope I’ll only have 24 to go.

  3. Lynn,
    I love the creative and quirky nature of your blog. Bravo– it’s well underway!! and should definitely generate interest in your upcoming book. My blog is just getting going and I’m using it to cement my credentials as a content marketer and also to demonstrate what I can do for a client. I’m looking for contracts or projects doing content marketing for clients, as usual. Plus writing my fiction as always. Let’s stay in touch. My blog is quirkymarketing.wordpress.com and I’m about to add my second post, that’s how new it is. Yours is inspiring.

  4. I see you chose the 2010 theme. I chose 2011 for mine. They’re both so clean and contemporary.

  5. Maureen – I love the look of your new blog, and you’re off to a great start. If you slide the subscription link onto the front I’ll subscribe to it to get your regular updates! It looks like I’ll be seeing you at lunch in a couple of days.

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