Washington is known as the Evergreen State, but is it the official nickname?

After all, it's on the state quarter. It's even the name of a college.

There is some reporting from 1893 that the State Senate voted to nickname Washington the Evergreen State, but there’s no official record of it.

"What's in a name, and more importantly, what's in a nickname? Something that's familiar and routine? Well, the nickname the Evergreen State comes with a little bit of a history story." State Senator Jeff Wilson of Longview said.

It turns out the nickname dates back to early statehood. The first known usage was found in an 1890 promotional booklet by Seattle real estate broker Charles Tallmadge Conover, titled “Washington the Evergreen State and Seattle its Metropolis.”

In 1893, Gov. John McGraw used the phrase in his inaugural address, and newspapers reported passage of a resolution in the state Senate declaring The Evergreen State the state’s official nickname. The term was promoted heavily later that year at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, where Washington state hosted a pavilion.

In brief remarks on the Senate floor, Senator Christine Rolfes said the newspapers were probably correct in 1893 when they reported the passage of a resolution, but that no one in the Senate or the State Archives can find a record of it anywhere.

Moving forward 120 years after McGraw's inaugural address, Senator Wilson is leading the way on a bill to declare the state nickname to be The Evergreen State.

"For many years, a lot of us have seen license plate covers. We've seen signs welcoming you to the Evergreen State," Wilson said. “By declaring Washington to be The Evergreen State, we tell the world that our state remains green all year long.”

The Senate voted 49-0 for Wilson’s bill. It now moves to the House for further consideration.

If you would like to read the bill in its entirety, click here.

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