Kennewick, Washington

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Kennewick is a city in Benton County in the southeastern part of the U.S. state of Washington, near the Hanford nuclear site. It is the most populous of the three cities collectively referred to as the Tri-Cities (the others being Pasco and Richland). Kennewick is located along the southwest bank of the Columbia River, opposite Pasco and just south of the confluence of the Columbia and Yakima rivers. The population was 67,180 at the state Office of Financial Management's estimate on April 1, 2009.[3]

The nearest commercial airport is the Tri-Cities Airport in Pasco, a regional commercial and private airport.

Forbes magazine named Kennewick the #2 area in the United States for job growth,[4] while nearby Yakima was named #1.[4] The article cites the number of scientists employed by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and area farmland for this outlook.



Kennewick Man is the name for the remains of a prehistoric man found on a bank of the Columbia River in 1996. The remains are notable for their age (some 9,300 years), and also for having Caucasoid features, despite being indigenous. Ownership of the bones has been a matter of great controversy.

The name "Kennewick" is believed to be a native word meaning "grassy place." It has also been called "winter paradise," mostly because of the mild winters in the area. In the past, Kennewick has also been known by other names. Arguably the strangest was "Tehe" which was allegedly attributed to the reaction from a native girl's laughter when asked the name of the region.

During the 1880s, steamboats and railroads connected what would become known as Kennewick to the other settlements along the Columbia River. In 1887, a temporary railroad bridge was constructed by the Northern Pacific Railroad connecting Kennewick and Pasco. That bridge could not endure winter ice on the Columbia and was partially swept away in the first winter. A new, more permanent bridge was built in its place in 1888. Until this time, rail freight from Minneapolis to Tacoma had to cross the river via ferry.[5] A cable ferry operated between the west end of Kennewick and the Pasco side of the river from 1894 to 1931.[6]

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