"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."