Bush Family Monument

“Putting Down Roots” Bush Family Monument

The Tri-Cities has a rich history and a celebrated heritage that begins as early as the Ice Floods that shaped the topography of the region to the Lewis and Clark Expedition that strengthened the U.S. claim of the Pacific Northwest to the groundbreaking scientific achievements of the Manhattan Project during World War II and everything in between. There are many opportunities to discover local, regional and global history here in the Tri-Cities…and Black History Month brings even more opportunities!

On the Washington State University (WSU) Tri-Cities campus in Richland there is a dedicated monument named “Putting Down Roots,” that commemorates Black pioneers George and Isabella Bush, and their eldest son, William Owen Bush. The monument honors the Bush family for their agricultural knowledge of Washington, contributing to the growth and prosperity of the State. William Owen Bush, the first African American to serve in the Washington State legislature, is honored for introducing legislation that established Washington State University. Go Cougs!

Dedicated in 2022, the monument is a granite and bronze replica of the monument recently installed on Washington’s capital campus in Olympia, and is accompanied by an butternut tree grown from a seedling from the original Bush homestead in Tumwater, Washington. The original tree was planted in 1845 and was thought to be the oldest butternut tree in the United States, and possibly the oldest in the world.

Leonard and Vanessa Moore of AACCES (African American Community, Cultural and Educational Society), a Tri-Cities organization raising awareness of African American accomplishments, challenges and contributions to the community, connected with WSU Tri-Cities regarding an opportunity to install a replica of the Bush family monument on the WSU Tri-Cities campus. The monument was made possible in partnership with the Washington State Historical Society, a non-profit membership organization dedication to preserving Washington State history, which received state funding in 2020 to celebrate Black Washingtonians. Additionally, AACCES offers the William Owen Bush Memorial Scholarship to a student at WSU Tri-Cities. Students must fill out the general scholarship application on the Washington State University Tri-Cities website to be considered for this scholarship.

Plan a trip to explore the Tri-Cities and support Black-owned businesses throughout the community.

Learn the story of the Bush Family Monument with Leonard Moore of AACCES

Tri-IDEAs is a program exploring and celebrating Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility through tourism in the Tri-Cities.

At Visit Tri-Cities, we believe travel is transformative on multiple levels. Exploring new destinations exposes us to different ideas, cultures, history, heritages and people. Through Tri-IDEAs, Visit Tri-Cities will connect with local business owners, community leaders, event organizers, residents and more to highlight, share and celebrate the diversity of the Tri-Cities that can be experienced through travel and tourism activities.