Washington State Archives, Digital Archives

Opening in 2004, the Washington State Archives Building was created to house both the Eastern Washington Regional Archives and both state and local government Digital Archives. It was the first archives building to be built from the ground up that would be able to house the new technology needed to take on such a large project.

The Secretary of State of Washington desired an archives center to preserve documents that have either legal, fiscal or historical value. GlassHouse Technologies, Inc. was hired to help create the digital software needed to test the new system and find anything wrong with it during the initial stages of development. The creators also wanted this system to be easily accessible and allow its users to find what they needed quickly and efficiently. The new system kept in line with all the legal requirements for "e-records" and can access the records when needed for a wide variety of agencies.

The archives building was planned in 2000 and was approved for the 2001-2003 Capital Budget which gave the Secretary of State the power to fund such an expensive project. There were some alternate locations discussed during the initial surveying but according to the Washington State Digital Archives Feasibility Study printed in 2004, the other alternatives did not meet the legal requirements, could not ensure against loss of electrical archiving records due to natural disasters and other catastrophic events, as well as keep the project cost effective. When the building was finally completed in 2004, the first records to be housed at the Archives building were marriage records from Snohomish, Chelan, and Spokane counties as well as Historic Census and Naturalization records from the State Archives and State Library.

The Eastern Washington Regional Archives, which houses hundreds of thousands of paper records, is on the first floor and the Digital Archives is housed on the second. The building boasts a research room with computer work stations, a classroom fully equipped with the latest technology as well as a state-of-the-art data center. Currently, the archives building houses state and local government documents and is starting to help other states develop their own systems of digital archiving.

In October 2009, a plaque was installed commemorating the 5-year anniversary of the dedication of the building. The State Archives Building was dedicated and named after Secretary of State Belle Reeves. Reeves was appointed to be the interim Secretary of State after the current title holder Dr. E.N. Hutchinson died in 1940. She was the first female appointed to such a high political station in Washington State and was elected to the same position in 1944.


Washington State Archives Building
Interview provided by Larry Cebula. Interview of Jerry Handfield, State Archivist. Audio narration provided by Laura Glasgow. Pictures provided from the private collection of Laura Glasgow. "Mrs. Belle Reeves is in Line for...
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