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Roll On Columbia, Roll On

Washington State Folk Song

Olympic Peninsula in Washington State - photo © Bill Janus on Flickr.

Official State Folk Song of Washington

Washington adopted "Roll On, Columbia, Roll On" by Woodie Guthrie as the official state folk song in 1987 (Washington's first state song was adopted  in 1959).  All State Songs

From Washington state legislature: "The legislature recognizes that winter recreational activities are part of the folk tradition of the state of Washington. Winter recreational activities serve to turn the darkness of a northwest winter into the dawn of renewed vitality. As the winter snows dissolve into the torrents of spring, the Columbia river is nourished. The Columbia river is the pride of the northwest and the unifying geographic element of the state. In order to celebrate the river which ties the winter recreation playground of snowcapped mountains and the Yakima, Snake, and the Klickitat rivers to the ocean so blue, the legislature declares that the official state folk song is "Roll On Columbia, Roll On," composed by Woody Guthrie."


Green Douglas firs where the waters cut through
Down her wild mountains and canyons she flew
Canadian Northwest to the oceans so blue
Roll on Columbia, roll on
Roll on, Columbia, roll on
Roll on, Columbia, roll on
Your power is turning our darkness to dawn
So roll on, Columbia, roll on.
Other great rivers add power to you
Yakima, Snake, and the Klickitat, too
Sandy Willamette and Hood River too
So roll on, Columbia, roll on
Tom Jefferson's vision would not let him rest
An empire he saw in the Pacific Northwest
Sent Lewis and Clark and they did the rest
So roll on, Columbia, roll on
It's there on your banks that we fought many a fight
Sheridan's boys in the blockhouse that night
They saw us in death but never in flight
So roll on Columbia, roll on
At Bonneville now there are ships in the locks
The waters have risen and cleared all the rocks
Shiploads of plenty will steam past the docks
So roll on, Columbia, roll on
And on up the river is Grand Coulee Dam
The mightiest thing ever built by a man
To run the great factories and water the land
So roll on, Columbia, roll on
These mighty men labored by day and by night
Matching their strength 'gainst the river's wild flight
Through rapids and falls, they won the hard fight
So roll on, Columbia, roll on