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Benton County Attractions

Parent Category: Washington Counties
Created: 06 March 2014

Population: 182,398

Area: 1,760 square miles

County Seat: Prosser

OVERVIEW

Benton County is located in the southeast part of Washington State. The county was formed in 1847. The county is located near the junction of the Columbia River, Snake and Yakima Rivers. The Columbia River forms northern, eastern and southern boundaries of the county.

Nowadays Benton County is considered to be a great agricultural county, though originally the land here was dry. Farm crops are produced here thanks to irrigation that started in the 1890s. County grows alfalfa, wheat, potatoes, etc.

The county seat is Prosser; the largest cities are Kennewick, Richland, Benton City and West Richland.

Benton County was named after Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton.

HISTORY

Benton County was formed out of Polk County in 1847. The territories were originally inhabited by the Klickitats, Yakamas, Umatillas and Wallulas. These native inhabitants fished and steelhead in the rivers, they hunted deer and elk, gathered berries, roots and seeds.

A gold rush in 1858 brought the first white settlers to this region.

During World War II and during the Cold War the US army bought 640 square miles in this region along the Columbia River. The project was called the Manhattan Project. It was a secret plant that developed plutonium for the atomic bombs. This project made the nuclear power industry one of the main industries in Benton County. 

Other important industries of the county are agriculture and wine industry. Wineries in the county attract a great number of the tourists.

COUNTY SEAT

Prosser is located in the Yakima Valley along the Yakima River. Prosser is an agricultural city, many fruit orchards and fruit packing plants are located here. Nowadays Prosser is a center of wine making and this city is home for such wineries as Chinook Wines and others.

TOP ATTRACTIONS

Hanford Nuclear Reservation

Hanford Nuclear Reservation or Hanford Site is a former nuclear production plant. The site was established in 1943 under the Manhattan Project. This site had the B Reactor and plutonium production. Plutonium that was manufactured here was used in the nuclear bombs during World War II

Website: http://www.hanford.gov/

Columbia Park

The Columbia Park is a 400-acre recreational area, which is located in Kennewick, WA. This park has beautiful 4.5 miles of shoreline along the Columbia River. 

There is a great Playground of Dreams play area and a family fishing pond, which has also ducks and geese that can be fed. Next to this play area there is the Aquatic Playground. Here visitors will enjoy barbecue and picnic facilities, boat launches and the J&S Express train ride. 

Hanford Reach National Monument

Hanford Reach is situated in southern Washington and preserves important parts of the Columbia River. This monument lies on the territory of the Hanford Site, a place where the first nuclear bombs were developed. Here visitors will enjoy shrub-steppe ecosystem, White Buffs and blue waters of the Columbia River. The best way to explore the monument is by a jet boat.

Website: http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Hanford_Reach/

 

Information: Marina Petrova

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