One Does Not Simply “Live in Washington”
George Washington was the first president of the United States, but that was not his last official role in government. Just over a year into retirement, the nation’s second president, John Adams, asked Washington to return to his military roots. On July 13, 1798, the former president became Senior Officer of the Army, a role he kept until his death in 1799. This lesser-known role is probably not responsible for the more than 350 cities, towns, and peaks named after Washington, as plotted on the map below.
View Places Named After George Washington in a full screen map
As you can see, one does not simply live in Washington, with so many places containing that name. Almost every state has a Washington to call home, though I’m not sure life on one of the 15 Mount Washingtons has the comforts most seek.
Remarkably, a supermajority of states have a Washington County. The 31 represented states are mostly in the eastern half of the country, though Colorado, Utah, Idaho, and Oregon represent in the west. Washington County is the most common county name, with four more states than Jefferson County.
Of the original 13 colonies, 11 have one or more place named after Washington. Delaware and South Carolina are the colonies that come up empty. Pennsylvania has several dozen, mostly townships, by far the most of any of the original colonies. Iowa has the most of any state, with 50 places, bolstered by 48 Washington Townships, including one in Washington County, Iowa. Indiana (49) and Ohio (48) are right behind, also mostly townships, often unincorporated or too small to be considered cities.
The state with the most places named after Washington that don’t include townships is Wisconsin, with 11. Still, that state has eight towns named Washington, Wisconsin, which is at best confusing. Undoubtedly the most interesting Washington, Wisconsin, has to be the one on an island at the mouth of Green Bay.
It’s not enough that the state of Washington is named after our first president. The state also is home to four different Mount Washingtons in different counties. The eponymous state also has a city with the president’s full name: George, Washington.
Alaska and Hawaii have no places named after our first president. Perhaps that’s expected since they’re both geographically remote and were not states until 1959. That said, their immediate predecessors in statehood, Arizona and New Mexico (both 1912), each have a Mount Washington.
However, if you’re in a state well over 100 years old, you may need to consult the map above the next time someone says, “let’s go to Washington.”