HOW DID THEY GET SO RICH? 3 of the oldest wealthiest families of Washington state

If it was easy to become rich in America, then everybody would be well-off and there wouldn't be any poverty. Sure, we know all about Washington's richest families, like the Gates, Bezos, and Allens, but what about those with the kind of quiet wealth that began in the America of long ago?

If you were lucky enough to have been born into an "old money" family in Washington state, then you likely are a descendant of one of these three particular families. You have likely heard of at least one of them; the other two, maybe not so much.


Nordstrom Family Washington State
Nordstrom Department Store, Getty Images

Nordstroms is a popular department store, particularly in the Pacific Northwest. The retail conglomerate began with Swedish immigrant John (Johan) Nordström, who was a potato farmer living in Michigan. He moved to Canada and got lucky "striking it rich" in the Gold Rush of the late 1800s. After moving to Seattle, he opened a shoe store with Carl F. Wallin. Carl sold his shares to John and John eventually passed on his business to his sons. The sons expanded Nordstrom to sell things beyond shoes, took the family business to customers overseas, and the rest is history. The wealth of the old Nordström family is immense in Washington state.


The Pigott Family made wealth in Washington state by selling steel to railway companies and logging equipment.
Steel Railways, Kendrew Schexnider on Unsplash

The family who made their wealth from selling steel rails to railways and logging equipment to businessmen. William Pigott Sr. was the brains behind the operation, and this was all right before the start of the Great Gatsby days of the 1900s. The family wealth is now estimated to be worth over 10 billion dollars.


The Weyerhouser Family made their wealth in Washington state through the sales of timber from land purchased from railway companies.
Timber, Meritt Thomas on Unsplash

How much wood can a Weyerhouser chuck? Enough to be billionaires and among the oldest wealthiest families of Washington state's history. The year 1900 was a lucky one for Frederick because he was able to get 15 people to partner up with him to purchase forest land from the railroad company. They made quite a big buck off those trees!

For more historical tidbits about some of Washington's oldest wealthy families, visit here.

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