Posted by: Burlington Public Library (WA) | October 1, 2013

Why are we called Burlington, anyway?

Our library was contacted recently by Tim Johnson of Vermont’s Burlington Free Press who was trying to trace the naming of both his and our Burlington.  His research tells us that according to an “unofficial ranking by the U.S. Census Bureau, Burlington is the 38th most common place name in the United States, with a total of 34. (Union is No. 1, with 118, and Washington [is] No. 2, with 96.)”2012_1HistPostcards_Thibert4cropt2

Thanks to Tim, we now know a little more about how we came to be Burlington. For more of his story click here to see his article, which conveys the fascinating and complicated mysteries of this common place name.

To answer Mr Johnson, we told him about an account by Blanche Joyce Wallace in the book Skagit Memories: Stories of the Settlement Years (Skagit County Historical Society, 1979).  Wallace relates that Burlington was named by Thomas Soules, who arrived in the area in 1889 just as Washington was becoming a State.   Further documentation has not yet been found, except that Mr. Soules was apparently born in Buffalo NY (according to a 1923 obituary in the Seattle Times) and found his way out here via Canada.  For our Genealogists and perhaps the Skagit River Journal, it would be interesting to track a little more.  We’re glad to help here at the library!

-Karen

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Responses

  1. According to James W. Phillips book, Washington State Place Names, published by University of Washington Press in 1971, Burlington, Washington, was named after Burlington, Vermont.


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