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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Richland, Pasco, and Kennewick, Washington"
Includes ... Richland ... Pasco ... Kennewick ... "Tri-Cities" ... Bateman Island ... Columbia Park ... Kennewick Man ... The Golden Age of Postcards ...
Image, 2003, Columbia River from Columbia Park, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Columbia River from Columbia Park, Richland, Washington. View along Columbia Drive. Image taken September 29, 2003.

"... there is no timber of any Sort except Small willow bushes in Sight in any direction ..." [Clark, October 17, 1805]


Tri-Cities ...
The three cities of Richland, Pasco, and Kennewick, are located along the Columbia River and make up the "Tri-Cities" of Washington State. Richland is located at Columbia River Mile (RM) 333, where the Yakima River enters the Columbia. To the east are Pasco on the north bank and Kennewick on the south bank.

The Tri-Cities span the Columbia from the Yakima River to the Snake River. Lewis and Clark spent two nights at the mouth of the Snake, at today's Sacajawea State Park. On September 17, 1805, Captain Clark journeyed up the Columbia as far as Bateman Island at the mouth of the Yakima. Between the Yakima and the Snake Rivers today can be found Columbia Park, which borders the south side of the Columbia, and the "Blue Bridge" and the Cable Bridge, which connect Pasco and Kennewick.


Image, 2003, Pasco-Kennewick Bridge, Washington, click to enlarge
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Pasco-Kennewick "Blue Bridge". Kennewick's "Blue Bridge" as seen from Clover Island. Image taken September 29, 2003.
Image, 2005, Cable Bridge, click to enlarge
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Sunset on the "Cable Bridge", Kennewick, Washington. Image taken September 24, 2005.


Richland

The city of Richland is the furthest west of the Tri-Cities. It was originally known as Chemna by Chemnapum Indians who lived at the mouth of the Yakima River (which they called "Tapteal").

The first white settlement in the Richland area appeared in 1863, and by 1880 a stage coach company was established. In 1892 Nelson Rich and Howard Amon formed the Benton Water Company which brought irrigation to the area. The first post office opened in October 1905, listing the town as "Benton". A contest was held to decide the official name for the town and Richland was the winning name. (According to Robert Hitchman in Place Names of Washington (Washington Historical Society, 1985) the place was named "Richland" in 1904 after landowner Nelson Rich.) The city of Richland was officially incorporated in 1910, with a population 240.

Richland remained a small farming community until the population boomed in 1943 when the U.S. Government assumed ownership of the area and built the country's first nuclear reactor on the Hanford Site. The Manhattan District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers acquired the towns of Richland, Hanford, and White Bluffs, and designated the area as the Hanford Atomic Works. They began the development of the atomic bomb. In 1944, the first reactor began operation at the Hanford Project. Camp Hanford’s population peaked at 51,000, and spanned not quite two years until its abandonment in February 1945. E.I. du Pont de Nemours and company governed the city until General Electric Company, acting as administrator for the Atomic Energy Commission (later the Energy Research and Development Administration and subsequently the Department of Energy), assumed control in 1946. In 1948, the City of Richland was officially dissolved, and was reincorporated in 1958. The last production reactor closed in 1988. Today Hanford remains a research center, and the Hanford Reach remains the last free-flowing stretch of the Columbia River in the United States. Hanford was designated as a National Monument during the Clinton administration.


Image, 2006, Richland sunset from Columbia Park, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Richland sunset as seen from Columbia Park, Washington. Image taken September 29, 2006.


Pasco

Pasco, Washington, is located at the confluence of the Columbia River and the Snake River, and includes Sacajawea State Park, the location of Lewis and Clark's campsite in October 1805. According to Robert Hitchman in Place Names of Washington (Washington Historical Society, 1985) Pasco was a railroad town established in 1884 by the Northern Pacific Railway Company. It received it's name from Henry M. McCartney, a location engineer for the Northern Pacific. McCartney named the town after a Peruvian mining town called "Cerro de Pasco". McCartney had recently surveyed the Oroya Railway in Peru, and found Cerro de Pasco the highest and coldest place he had ever been. Upon arriving in eastern Washington, McCartney was greeted by a sandstorm and heat. He named the new Washington town for the contrast. Pasco was incorporated in 1891.

Image, 2003, Sacajawea State Park, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Sacajawea State Park, Washington. Image taken September 29, 2003.


Kennewick

Kennewick, Washington, is on the south bank of the Columbia River, directly across from Pasco. The location was a popular winter fishing grounds for the native tribes. The first white settlement was near the mouth of the Yakima River in 1863. Twenty years later the Northern Pacific Railroad decided to continue their transcontinental track across the river in the area. To this end the towns of Pasco and Kennewick were created. A ferry existed to transport the trains across the Columbia until 1888 when the railroad bridge was completed.

"... In 1883, the Northern Pacific Railroad track was being constructed from Spokane on its way to Seattle via the Yakima River and had reached a point near the Columbia River. Mr. H.S. Huson, a civil engineer with the railroad was sent to find a suitable location for a bridge across the Columbia River. They landed on a small island covered with grass and wild shrubbery known today as Clover Island. Indians called it Kin-i-wak, which meant “grassy place”. The construction crews began to arrive and set up camps along the proposed route. Huson recommended that the bridge be built at Cottonwood Landing, a short distance downriver from Kin-i-wak, but during the time of locating foundations for the bridge, he found himself calling the place Kenewick in his records and correspondence. ..." [City of Kennewick Website, 2006]

According to Robert Hitchman in Place Names of Washington (Washington Historical Society, 1985) the original name for the town was "Dell Haven", which was later replaced with the Indian name "Kennewick". The name "Kennewick" has been translated to mean "grassy place", "winter paradise", "winter heaven", and even "dried acorns".

By 1892, Nelson Rich and Howard Amon formed the Benton Land and Water Co. bringing irrigation to the area for the first time. Kennewick became an incorporated city in 1904. Thousands of people moved into the town with the advent of World War II, the Hanford Atomic Project in nearby Richland, the construction of McNary Dam, and the Columbia Basin Irrigation Project.


Image, 2003, Kennewick's Cable Bridge, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Kennewick and the Cable Bridge, as seen from Sacajawea State Park. Also visible is the old railroad bridge which was originally built in 1888. Image taken September 29, 2003.


Tri-Cities, etc.

  • Bateman Island ...
  • "Blue Bridge" ...
  • "Cable Bridge" ...
  • Clover Island ...
  • Columbia Park ...
  • "Kennewick Man" ...
  • Pasco-Kennewick Northern Pacific Railroad Bridge ...
  • Sacajawea State Park ...
  • Two Rivers County Park ...
  • Yakima River ...


Bateman Island ...
Bateman Island is located on the Columbia River at River Mile (RM) 333, between the cities of Richland and Kennewick, Washington. The island is located just downstream of the mouth of the Yakima River "estuary". Bateman Island is the farthest Captain Clark journeyed up the Columbia on October 17, 1805.
[More]

Image, 2003, Bateman Island, upstream end, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Bateman Island, view of upstream end. Bateman Island is the farthest point upstream on the Columbia River Lewis and Clark ventured. The mouth of the Yakima River is just out of view on the left. Image taken from Island View, Washington, September 29, 2003.


"Blue Bridge" ...
The Pasco-Kennewick Bridge ("Blue Bridge") is located at Columbia River Mile (RM) 330, approximately 3 miles downstream of Bateman Island, and one mile upstream of Clover Island. The "Cable Bridge" lies another half-mile downstream. Five miles downstream is the mouth of the Snake River, which merges with the Columbia River at RM 325. The official name of the Pasco-Kennewick Bridge is the "Pioneer Memorial Bridge", and locally known as the "Blue Bridge". The bridge was built with funds provided by the 1951 Washington State Legislature, and connects the city of Pasco, Washington (Franklin County), with the city of Kennewick, Washington(Benton County). In 2002 the bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places (Structure #02000241) for its architecture and engineering significance. The bridge also known as "Bridge Number 395/40".
[More]

Image, 2005, Blue Bridge from Columbia Park, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
"Blue Bridge" from Columbia Park, Richland, Washington. Image taken September 24, 2005.


"Cable Bridge" ...
The Pasco-Kennewick "Cable Bridge" spans the Columbia River between Pasco and Kennewick at Columbia River Mile (RM) 328.5. The bridge opened in September 1978 as a replacement for an existing "Intercity Bridge" which was built in 1922. Upstream of the bridge is Clover Island and the Pasco-Kennewick "Blue" Bridge. Downstream is an old railroad bridge, still in use. Three miles downstream is Washington's Sacajawea State Park which offers a view of both bridges. The "Cable Bridge" is officially known as the Ed Hendler Memorial Bridge, named after a former mayor of Pasco, who helped promote the construction of the bridge.
[More]

Image, 2006, Cable Bridge from Clover Island, Washington, click to enlarge
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Pasco-Kennewick "Cable Bridge" from Clover Island. Image taken September 29, 2006.


Clover Island ...
Clover Island lies along the southern shore of the Columbia River at River Mile (RM) 329, and lies between the "Blue Bridge" and the "Cable Bridge". This island is approximately 1/2 mile long. Captain Clark passed by Clover Island on October 17, 1805, as he explored the Columbia River upstream from the mouth of the Snake River. He reached Bateman Island before turning around and heading back to camp, the location of today's Sacajawea State Park.
[More]

Image, 2006, Clover Island Inn, Washington, click to enlarge
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Clover Island Inn and "Cable Bridge", Clover Island. Image taken September 29, 2006.


Columbia Park ...
Columbia Park is located on the right bank (south) of the Columbia River (Lake Wallula) between River Miles (RM) 330 and 335. The park covers nearly 606 acres and is located off Highway 240 between Richland and Kennewick, Washington. The park offers excellent views of the Pasco-Kennewick "Blue Bridge". At the park's upstream end is located Bateman Island, the farthest up the Columbia that Lewis and Clark explored. "Kennewick Man", a 9,200 year old skeleton, was unearthed in Columbia Park.
[More]

Image, 2004, Camping at Columbia Park, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Camping at Columbia Park, Richland, Washington. Image taken September 26, 2004.


Kennewick Man ...
"On July 28, 1996, the bones known as Kennewick Man were found in the shallows of the Columbia River near Columbia Park, Washington. The U.S. Government seized the bones and ruled that the remains were Native American because they predate 1492. The Government ordered the remains turned over to the Umatilla, Yakama, Colville, Wanapum, and Nez Perce tribes in Eastern Washington. Eight anthropologists, including two from the Smithsonian Institution, filed suit to examine the remains. Preliminary forensic examination suggested an individual different from the typical pre-historic Native American. The bone fragments were taken to the Burke Museum at the University of Washington on October 29, 1998, where scientists examined them. The remains were determined to be 9,000 years old, but DNA testing was inconclusive as to their ethnic origin. On September 25, 2000, Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbit decided that the remains of Kennewick Man are "culturally affiliated" with Native Americans and ordered them turned over to five tribes in eastern Washington. On October 25, 2000, a Federal judge in Portland questioned the Government's conclusion and scheduled arguments as to the nature of the remains. In June 2001, Kennewick Man reposes at the Burke Museum in Seattle."

Source:    Washington HistoryLink website, 2004


Pasco-Kennewick Northern Pacific Railroad Bridge ...
By 1883 the Northern Pacific Railroad had completed a transcontinental line from Minnesota to Eastern Washington. They needed to cross the Columbia River and the spot they chose was near the mouth of the Snake River, today the location of Pasco and Kennewick, Washington. The line would then follow the Yakima Valley and cross the Cascades at Stampede Pass. A temporary bridge was first built, which opened to trains on December 3, 1887. The permanent bridge was completed on July 14, 1888 and opened soon afterwards. A much-improved bridge remains in use today.
[[More]

Image, 2005, Snake River from Sacajawea State Park, click to enlarge
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Kennewick's Cable Bridge, as seen from Sacajawea State Park. In the foreground is an old railroad bridge, still in use. Image taken September 25, 2005.
Image, 2006, Pasco-Kennewick Railroad Bridge from Clover Island, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Pasco-Kennewick Northern Pacific Railroad Bridge, as seen from Clover Island. Image taken September 29, 2006.


Sacajawea State Park ...
Sacajawea State Park is a 284-acre marine, day-use park located in Pasco, Washington, at Columbia River Mile (RM) 325, where the Snake River merges with the Columbia. Eight miles upstream lie Bateman Island - the furthest upstream the expedition explored - and the mouth of the Yakima River. Ten miles downstream lie Wallula, Washington, and the mouth of the Walla Walla River. On the right bank of the Columbia, directly across from Sacajawea State Park is Two Rivers County Park, which has and excellent view looking back towards the State Park. Behind Two Rivers County Park rises the Horse Heaven Hills. Sacajawea State Park is located on a plain of the great Lake Missoula floods which swept through the area 12,000 years ago. It features 9,100 feet of freshwater shoreline with the park's lands being sand dunes interspersed with wetland ponds. The property was deeded to Washington State Parks in 1931, and was named for Sacajawea, a Shoshoni Indian woman who traveled with the Lewis and Clark expedition. Lewis and Clark spent two nights here in October 1805.
[More]

Image, 2003, Sacajawea State Park, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Sacajawea State Park, Washington. Image taken September 29, 2003.


Two Rivers County Park ...
The 273-acre Two Rivers County Park is located on the right bank of the Columbia River at River Mile (RM) 325, just southeast of Kennewick, Washington. The Park is maintained by Benton County under a lease from the U.S. Corps of Engineers.

"... The property was previously farmland (condemned as flood plain) when McNary Dam was constructed in the early 1950s. The 20-acre lagoon was created when the property was excavated for dirt fill used in construction of the adjacent dike. This park contains a wide variety of habitats which provide year-round forage and shelter for many resident and migratory birds. Passerines and raptors are are often found in the thickets along the base of the dike, the small marsh adjacent to the playground, and the many deciduous and evergreen trees. Scan the Columbia River (Lake Wallula) and the park lagoon for loons, grebes, waterfowl and the occasional shorebird. Walk the nature trail along the edge of the extensive marshland in the undeveloped portion of the park for additional sightings. ..." [Lower Columbia Basin Audubon Society website, 2007]

[More]


Image, 2003, Two Rivers County Park, click to enlarge
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Two Rivers County Park, Kennewick, Washington. Two Rivers County Park is across the Columbia River from where the Snake River joins the Columbia River. Image taken September 29, 2003.


Yakima River ...
The Yakima River enters the Columbia River at Columbia River Mile (RM) 333, just upstream of Bateman Island. To the north is Richland, Washington, and to the south are the cities of Pasco and Kennewick. On October 17, 1805, Captain Clark explored the Columbia as far upstream as Bateman Island, just missing the mouth of the Yakima River, before turning around and returning to the junction of the Snake River with the Columbia, the location of today's Sacajawea State Park.
[More]

Image, 2004, Looking at the mouth of the Yakima River, click to enlarge
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Looking towards the mouth of the Yakima River, Washington. View from the right bank of the Columbia River looking back at the "estuary" of the mouth of the Yakima River. Image taken September 26, 2004.


"The Golden Age of Postcards" ...

The early 1900s was the "Golden Age of Postcards", with the "Penny Postcard" being a popular way to send greetings to family and friends. Today the Penny Postcard has become a snapshot of history.

Penny Postcard, Lewis Street looking west, Pasco, Washington, ca.1909
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Penny Postcard: Lewis Street looking west, Pasco, Washington, ca.1909. Penny Postcard, Copyrighted 1909, "Lewis St. Looking West, Pasco, Wash.". Image copyrighted 1909 by O.C. Towne's. Published by The Towne's Studio. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Penny Postcard, Docks, Pasco, Washington, ca.1910
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Penny Postcard: Docks, Pasco, Washington, ca.1910. Penny Postcard, ca.1910, "Pasco Docks, Pasco, Wash.". Divided back. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, October 17, 1805 ...
I took two men in a Small Canoe and assended the Columbia river 10 miles to an Island [Bateman Island] near the Stard. Shore on which two large Mat Lodges of Indians were drying Salmon, ... there is no timber of any Sort except Small willow bushes in Sight in any direction - from this Island the natives showed me the enterance of a large Westerly fork which they Call Tâpetętt [Yakima River] at about 8 miles distant, the evening being late I deturmined to return to the forks [Snake River with the Columbia River, to their camp at today's Sacajawea State Park], at which place I reached at Dark.     from the point [Sacajawea State Park] up the Columbia River is N. 83° W. 6 miles to the lower point of an Island near the Lard. Side     passed a Island in the middle of the river at 5 miles [Clover Island] at the head of which is a rapid, not dangerous on the Lard Side opposite to this rapid is a fishing place 3 Mat Lodges, and great quants. of Salmon on Scaffolds drying. ...

[Today the Pasco-Kennewick "Blue Bridge" is located at the upsteam head of Clover Island and the "Cable Bridge" is located on the downstream side.]

The Waters of this river is Clear, and a Salmon may be Seen at the deabth of 15 or 20 feet. West 4 miles to the lower point of a large island [Bateman Island] near the Stard. Side at 2 Lodges, passed three large lodges on the Stard Side near which great number of Salmon was drying on Scaffolds ...

[Today Columbia Park is located on the south side of the Columbia between Clover Island and Bateman Island, and stretches from Kennewick to Richland, with Pasco on the other side. Today these three cities are known as the "Tri-Cities".]

I Set out & halted or came too on the Island at the two Lodges [Bateman Island]. Several fish was given to me, in return for Which I gave Small pieces of ribbond from those Lodges the natives Showed me the mouth of Tap teel River [Yakima River] about 8 miles above on the west Side this western fork appears to beare nearly West, The main Columbia river N W.- a range of high land to the S W [Horse Heaven Hills] and parralal to the river and at the distance of 2 miles on the Lard. Side, the countrey low on the Stard. Side, and all Coverd. with a weed or plant about 2 & three feet high and resembles the whins. I can proceive a range of mountains to the East which appears to bare N. & South distant about 50 or 60 miles [Blue Mountains]. no wood to be Seen in any derection ...





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*River Miles [RM] are approximate, in statute miles, and were determined from USGS topo maps, obtained from NOAA nautical charts, or obtained from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website, 2003

Sources: City of Kennewick website, 2004, 2006; "HistoryLink.com" website, 2006, "Essay 5635"; Hitchman, R., 1985, Place Names of Washington, Washington State Historical Society; Richland Chamber of Commerce website, 2004; Tri-Cities Visitor and Convention Bureau website, 2004.

All Lewis and Clark quotations from Gary Moulton editions of the Lewis and Clark Journals, University of Nebraska Press, all attempts have been made to type the quotations exactly as in the Moulton editions, however typing errors introduced by this web author cannot be ruled out; location interpretation from variety of sources, including this website author.
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September 2008