West Richland, Washington

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West Richland is a 22-square-mile (57 km2) city in Benton County, Washington, United States, served by three elementary schools (Tapteal, William Wiley and White Bluffs ) and a middle school (Enterprise), with an annual budget of about 30 million dollars. The population was 8,385 at the 2000 census. The city is generally included in the Tri-Cities (for purposes of counting population, etc.), even though that technically makes four cities (along with Kennewick, Richland, and Pasco).

Contents

History

The original people of the region were the Chemnapum Indians (closely related to the Wanapum tribe), living near the mouth of the Yakima River. Lewis and Clark passed through the area in 1805, and an expedition of the Army Corps of Topographical Engineers headed by Robert E Johnson mapped the Yakima Valley in 1841.

In 1853, a road was authorized by Congress to pass through the Yakima valley, and passed through present-day West Richland - but settlement did not really begin until the late 1870s. The first schoolhouse was built in 1896 on the Van Horn Property just south of what is now Van Giesen Street. Benton County was created in 1905, Richland was incorporated in 1906, and the West Richland area was known as 'Lower Yakima'.

An irrigation canal from the north side of Horn Rapids Dam was built in 1908 to bring water into Richland.

The Yellowstone Trail, a national highway stretching from Albany, New York, to Seattle, was located through the Yakima Valley in 1917 and 1918. It crossed the Fallon Bridge between Richland and West Richland and then proceeded directly west to Kiona.

During the 1940s, the city of Richland was built, run and maintained by the War Department for the duration of the Manhattan Project. A number of residents had chafed at the government's regulations, and as a result many of them had moved across the Yakima River, where it was possible to purchase land and own (rather than rent) a house.

Carl Heminger purchased some 80 acres (320,000 m2) in 1948, and laid out plans for a city. It was proposed that it be named Heminger City (presumably after himself), but in 1949 the townspeople chose the name Enterprise instead. Heminger moved a mile down the road in protest, and platted a small community there called Heminger City. This was eventually incorporated in the West Richland City limits. When the time came in 1955 to incorporate the town, it was decided to rename to West Richland, taking advantage of the already well-known status of nearby Richland.

West Richland was officially incorporated on June 17, 1955, combining the two towns of Heminger City and Enterprise.

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