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History - Before the Bomb

Tales of Richland, White  Bluffs and Hanford 1805-1943 by Martha Berry Parker

Cover of the book in which I give total credit for all information and pictures.

Introduction by Martha Berry Parker

"During World War II experiments with atomic weaponry had to be conducted somewhere, and in the Russian Roulette of selecting a site, about one-third of Benton County, Washington, got the bullet. The boundaries of the Department of Energy's Hanford Atomic Reservation cover a territory which included many small settlements: Allard, Cold Creek, Julia, Riverton, Haven, Rivernita, Wahluke, Watoma, Vernita, Fruitvale, and the towns of Richland and Hanford, and three locations of the town of White Bluffs. Please note that the name Hanford was given to part of this area long before the Hanford Atomic Reserve was established in March, 1943.
This book is not about the second Hanford, for it is well known and has lost most of its wartime mystery. This book is about the people who lived in this part of Benton County long before anyone ever heard of an atomic bomb.
This volume is for all the people who are surprised, and ask with raised eyebrows, "Oh, was there something here before the government took over?" My answer is, "indeed there was!"
It is interesting to speculate what would have happened to the towns if the government hadn't displaced the people. Certainly irrigation would have expanded and more early fruit and vegetables would have come from the valleys. With Priest Rapids Dam, Wanapum Dam, and the extended Grand Coulee Dam projects, the valleys would certainly have all the water they needed. It was the battle to get water to the land at a resonable cost that was the bottom line for the residents of Richland, White Bluffs, and Hanford. The land was good and rich and would grow anything if it could just have water.
The three towns were not too different from the other small towns from 1900 to 1943. They had gone from boom to bust several times. With the small government subsidies in the late 1930's and with the beginning of World War II, Richland, White Bluffs and Hanford were beginning to prosper again, primarily because of the hardy souls who had remained with their farms and businesses during the depression and had the fortitude and drive to keep fighting for the good life. Their efforts were interrupted by the government in March, 1943."


Early Map


Pictures of school life before the atomic reserve.

Van Horn School - The Richland Y- 1900

Priest Rapids Valley - 1895

Hanford and White Bluffs Grade School - 1907

Hanford Grade School - 1909

Richland Grade School - 1909

May Day and School bus - 1914

RHS Girls Basketball Team - 1917

Richland High School - 1918

White Bluffs HS and Hanford Class of 1924

RHS Class of 1922 and 1923 Baseball Team

RHS Class of 1924 and Commencement Program

RHS 1926 Football and White Bluff's 1927 Girls Basketball

RHS 1928 Basketball and 1929 Richland Grade School

RHS Girls Basketball State Champions - 1929

Hanford HS Girl's Basketball and 1931 Class Photo

RHS Class of 1931

RHS Gym Class and Graduation Class - 1935

RHS 1935 Boys Basketball and 1936 Girls Basketball

Richland's 2nd Grade Class - 1938

New Richland Grade School in 1939 and New 1940's School Buses

Grades 1,2 and 3 at Richland Grade School - 1940

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History of West Richland: 1805 - 1943

Tales of Richland, White Bluffs and Hanford 1805-1945 by Martha Berry Parker
****Contains 395 pages of information and many more photographs than the ones I have included on this page.****

Kin-I-Wak, Kenewick, Tehe, Kenewick by Martha Berry Parker

Washington and Oregon, a Map History of the Oregon Country by Martha Berry Parker

Working on the Bomb by S. L. Sanger, Craig Wollner

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Class of 1968 Home Page Class of 1968 Home Page