More Cities and Towns of Southeast Washington
Kennewick, the largest city in the "Tri-Cities" area of Southeast Washington State, celebrated its centennial in 2004, marking 100 years of incorporation.
Founded in 1883-1884 by railroad workers, arid Kennewick nearly died before the Northern Pacific Railroad built an irrigation canal that brought cool water to the parched earth in 1903.
With irrigation came agriculture and, beginning in 1973, it was Concord grapes that put Kennewick's name on the map. At one time it was said there were more acres of Concord grape vineyards in Kennewick than anywhere in the world. Sold to Welch's in 1953, the plant still operates successfully in Kennewick.
Up until World War I, Kennewick remained a small agriculture-oriented town. Vast orchards surrounded the town, which had fewer than 2,000 inhabitants at the dawning of the War. With wartime projects in nearby communities, Kennewick's population swelled as newcomers moved into town.
In 1969, a new indoor shopping mall was built in the middle of sand and sagebrush. Now Kennewick surrounds the mall and has become the center of retail business for a region that encompasses all of southeast Washington and northeast Oregon.
Kennewick's five-mile long riverfront park, Columbia Park, has been the location of unlimited hydroplane races for nearly forty years and now hosts diverse community events and family activities. Columbia Park is also the site of the "Kennewick Man" discovery, a 9,200-year-old skeleton unearthed in 1996. Its discovery has led to increased scientific questioning of the origins of the human race in North America.
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