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Kennewick, Washington
City of Kennewick
The Grassy Place
Location of Kennewick, Washington
Location of Kennewick, Washington
Kennewick, Washington is located in the United States
Kennewick, Washington
Kennewick, Washington
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 46°12′13″N 119°9′33″W / 46.20361°N 119.15917°W / 46.20361; -119.15917Coordinates: 46°12′13″N 119°9′33″W / 46.20361°N 119.15917°W / 46.20361; -119.15917
Country United States
State Washington
 • TypeCouncil-Manager
 • City councilMayor Don Britain
Steve Lee
Bill McKay
Steve Young
Paul Parish
Matt Boehnke
John Trumbo
 • City managerMarie Mosley
 • City28.84 sq mi (74.70 km2)
 • Land27.45 sq mi (71.09 km2)
 • Water1.39 sq mi (3.61 km2)
407 ft (124 m)
 • City73,917
 • Estimate 
 • RankUS: 411st
WA: 14th
 • Density2,973.04/sq mi (1,147.88/km2)
 • Urban
232,954 (US: 171st)
 • Metro
296,224 (US: 164th)
 • Tri-Cities
357,146 (US: 103rd)
Time zoneUTC−8 (Pacific (PST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC−7 (PDT)
ZIP Codes
Area code(s)509
FIPS code53-35275
GNIS feature ID1512347[4]

Kennewick (/ˈkɛnəwɪk/) is a city in Benton County in the southeastern part of the State of Washington, along the southwest bank of the Columbia River, just southeast of the confluence of the Columbia and Yakima rivers and across from the confluence of the Columbia and the Snake River. It is the most populous of the three cities collectively referred to as the Tri-Cities (the others being Pasco across the Columbia and Richland across the Yakima). The population was 73,917 at the 2010 census. July 1, 2018 estimates from the Census Bureau put the city's population at 82,943.[5]

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


Cable Bridge, Lampson Corporate headquarters, and Tri-Cities Vietnam Memorial.

The name "Kennewick" is believed to be a native word meaning "grassy place."[6] 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. Legend has it that the strangest was "Tehe," which has been attributed to the reaction from a native girl's laughter when asked the name of the region.[7]

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 the 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 Columbia River via ferry.[8]

In the 1890s, the Northern Pacific Irrigation Company installed pumps and ditches to bring water for agriculture into the Kennewick Highlands. Once there was a reliable water source, orchards and vineyards were developed all over the Kennewick area. Strawberries were another successful crop.[9]

20th century to present

Kennewick was officially incorporated on February 5, 1904. In 1912, there was an unsuccessful bid to move the seat of Benton County from Prosser to Kennewick.[10]

In 1915, Kennewick was connected to the Pacific Ocean with the opening of the Dalles-Celilo Canal.

In 1943, the United States opened the Hanford nuclear site roughly nine miles northwest of Kennewick.[11] Its purpose originally was to help produce nuclear weaponry, which the US was trying to develop. The plutonium refined there was used in the Fat Man bomb used to attack Nagasaki in 1945 in the decisive final blow of World War II. Many employees of that site then commuted from Kennewick. As the Hanford site's purpose has evolved, there has continually been a tremendous influence from the site on the workforce and economy of Kennewick.[12]

In 1963, the Washington State Board Against Discrimination indicted Kennewick for sundown town policies that prevented African Americans from staying in the city at night, forcing them to live in east Pasco instead.[13]

The Toyota Center was used as a venue for ice hockey and figure skating during the 1990 Goodwill Games.[14] This international sporting competition was similar to the Olympic Games, but significantly smaller in scale. Most of the events were held in the host city, Seattle, but other Washington cities like Tacoma and Spokane also had venues used for the event.[15]

In 1996, an ancient human skeleton was found on a bank of the Columbia River. Known as Kennewick Man, the remains are notable for their age (some 9,300 years). Ownership of the bones has been a matter of great controversy. After court litigation, a group of researchers were allowed to study the remains and perform various tests and analyses. They published their results in a book in 2014. A 2015 genetic analysis confirmed that this ancient skeleton was ancestral to Native Americans of the area (some observers had contended that the remains were of European origin.) The genetic analysis has notably contributed to knowledge about the peopling of the Americas.


Historic Downtown Kennewick, WA.

Kennewick lies along the Columbia River and the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. The streets of downtown Kennewick are home to several bronze art sculptures and historic buildings.

Kennewick is the host city of the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League and the Tri-City Outlaws of the United States Premier Hockey League. They both play their home games in the Toyota Center, which hosts many other regional events.

During the summer, annual hydroplane races takes place at the Water Follies event on the Columbia River. In August, the annual Benton-Franklin County Fair is held at the fairgrounds. Kennewick is also the site of the annual Titanium Man (International Distance) and Plutonium Man (Half-Iron Distance) triathlons.

World Trade Center Memorial Monument

The World Trade Center Memorial Monument in Kennewick, Washington.

A 9/11 – World Trade Center Memorial Monument is located at a sports complex in the Southridge area. Kennewick is one of a few cities to have acquired an external vertical support column artifact salvaged from the World Trade Center.[16][17] The central part of the monument is a 35-foot (11 m) twisted column of steel weighing nearly 6,000 pounds (2,700 kg).[16]

The memorial site was dedicated on the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks.[18] The memorial is located at the Southridge Sports and Events Complex at the southern entrance to the City of Kennewick. The site includes landscaping and benches placed for reflection and contemplation, and a US flag above the steel monument.

Clover Island

Clover Island Lighthouse overlooking the Columbia River.

Clover Island is a 16-acre park near downtown Kennewick. It has restaurants, a hotel, and a yacht club, connected by a riverside trail.[19]

In May 2010, a 62-foot lighthouse was constructed on Clover Island (located on the Columbia River) in Kennewick.[20] According to the Port of Kennewick, this is the first lighthouse since 1962 to be built in the United States, and the most recently constructed one in the state of Washington.[21] The United States Coast Guard-approved lighthouse flashes a beacon every four seconds.


The view from Badger Mountain in Richland looking toward south Richland (foreground), Kennewick (upper right) and Pasco (across the Columbia River). Taken in January, this photo does not show the spring flower display.

Kennewick is located 213 miles (343 km) east of Portland, Oregon[22] and 225 miles (362 km) southeast of Seattle, Washington.[23] As part of the Tri-Cities, Kennewick is part of the second largest metropolitan area in eastern Washington.

Kennewick is located at 46°12′13″N 119°9′33″W / 46.20361°N 119.15917°W / 46.20361; -119.15917 (46.203475, −119.15927).[24]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 28.36 square miles (73.45 km2), of which, 26.93 square miles (69.75 km2) is land and 1.43 square miles (3.70 km2) is water.[25]

Columbia River crossed by Cable Bridge, which connects Pasco (left) and Kennewick (right). Clover Island is visible on the right.


Kennewick has a semi-arid climate (Köppen BSk), that closely borders on a desert climate (Köppen BWk). Winters can range from cold to mild, with frequent light rainfall. Summers are very dry and hot (though low humidity makes the high temperatures tolerable). Snowfall is light owing to the influence of the Cascade rain shadow, and the city receives less than half the rainfall of Spokane and less than one-eighth as much as Astoria on the Pacific coast.

Climate data for Kennewick, Washington
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 74
Average high °F (°C) 40.4
Average low °F (°C) 28.0
Record low °F (°C) −27
Average precipitation inches (mm) 1.08
Average snowfall inches (cm) 4.4
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 inch) 9.6 7.8 7.9 5.5 5.3 4.4 2.5 2.7 3.5 4.9 8.9 9.3 72.3
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 inch) 1.8 0.5 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.3 0.9 3.5
Source #1: [26]
Source #2: [27][28][unreliable source?]


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201882,943[3]12.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[30]
2018 Estimate[31]

2010 census

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 73,917 people, 27,266 households, and 18,528 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,744.8 inhabitants per square mile (1,059.8/km2). There were 28,507 housing units at an average density of 1,058.6 per square mile (408.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 78.5% White, 1.7% African American, 0.8% Native American, 2.4% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 12.1% from other races, and 4.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 24.2% of the population.

There were 27,266 households of which 37.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.3% were married couples living together, 13.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 32.0% were non-families. 25.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.67 and the average family size was 3.22.

The median age in the city was 32.6 years. 28.2% of residents were under the age of 18; 10.3% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 26.8% were from 25 to 44; 23.8% were from 45 to 64; and 10.9% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.9% male and 50.1% female.

2000 census

As of the 2000 census, there were 54,693 people, 20,786 households, and 14,176 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,384.9 people per square mile (920.9/km²). There were 22,043 housing units at an average density of 961.2 per square mile (371.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 82.93% White, 1.14% Black or African American, 0.93% Native American, 2.12% Asian, 0.11% Pacific Islander, 9.4% from other races, and 3.37% from two or more races. 15.55% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race. 18.2% were of German, 9.6% English, 8.5% Irish and 8.5% American ancestry. 84.6% spoke English and 12.5% Spanish as their first language.

There were 20,786 households out of which 37.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.5% were married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.8% were non-families. 26.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.6 and the average family size was 3.15.

In the city, the population was spread out with 29.6% under the age of 18, 10.3% from 18 to 24, 29.3% from 25 to 44, 20.6% from 45 to 64, and 10.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $41,213, and the median income for a family was $50,011. Males had a median income of $41,589 versus $26,022 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,152. About 9.7% of families and 12.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.8% of those under age 18 and 8.7% of those age 65 or over.


Public schools located in the city are part of the Kennewick School District (KSD). The Kennewick School District has fifteen elementary schools, five middle schools, three high schools. A vocational school is operated by Kennewick and other local school districts, named the Tri-Tech Skills Center, which is the home of KTCV, a radio station run as one of Tri-Tech's vocational programs.[32] KSD also operates Neil F. Lampson Stadium, located at Kennewick High School, which is used to host football and soccer games for the three high schools in town as well as for special events.[33] Lampson Stadium has a capacity of 6,800 people.[34]


The following are schools in Kennewick:

Elementary (K–5)[35]

  • Amistad
  • Canyon View
  • Cascade
  • Cottonwood
  • Eastgate
  • Edison
  • Fuerza
  • Hawthorne
  • Lincoln
  • Ridge View
  • Sage Crest
  • Southgate
  • Sunset View
  • Vista
  • Washington
  • Westgate

Middle (6–8)[36]

  • Chinook
  • Desert Hills
  • Highlands
  • Horse Heaven Hills
  • Park

High (9–12)[37]

Notable people

Sister cities

Kennewick has the following sister cities:[38]

See also

  • Flag of Washington.svg Washington (state) portal


  1. ^ "2017 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 19, 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2019.
  4. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  5. ^ "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 29, 2018.
  6. ^ Majors, Harry M. (1975). Exploring Washington. Van Winkle Publishing Co. p. 134. ISBN 978-0-918664-00-6.
  7. ^ "Kennewick High School All Class Reunion". Archived from the original on 2007-07-06.
  8. ^ "First trains cross the Northern Pacific Railroad bridge spanning the Columbia River between Pasco and Kennewick on December 3, 1887.", History Link; Retrieved November 16, 2009.
  9. ^ Gibson, Elizabeth. "Benton County – Thumbnail History". HistoryLink.org. March 29, 2004. Retrieved February 28, 2010.
  10. ^ Gibson, Elizabeth. "Voters fail to move Benton County seat from Prosser following rivalry with Benton City and Kennewick on November 5, 1912." HistoryLink.org. May 29, 2006. Retrieved February 28, 2010.
  11. ^ "Google Maps". Google Maps.
  12. ^ "In strange twist, Hanford cleanup creates latest boom". Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
  13. ^ Rigert, Joe (July 9, 1963). "Charge Kennewick as 'sundown town'". Port Angeles Evening News. Port Angeles, Washington. Associated Press. p. 1 – via Newspapers.com. A state civil rights board indicated Tuesday Kennewick has virtually barred its gates to Negroes and gained a reputation as a 'sundown town' where Negroes must leave after dark.
  14. ^ Swenson, John (July 25, 1990). "Tri-Cities welcomes Goodwill Games while Soviets fume". United Press International. Retrieved December 12, 2018.
  15. ^ Wilma, David (February 25, 2004). "Ted Turner's Goodwill Games open in Seattle on July 20, 1990". History Link. Retrieved December 12, 2018.
  16. ^ a b "Lampson International, LLC-Home" (PDF). Lampson International, LLC-Home. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
  17. ^ "Kennewick's 9-11 Memorial Is At Southridge Sports Complex". 1027 KORD. 4 June 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
  18. ^ "Kennewick to Unveil Memorial of 9/11 Attacks on Sunday". Tri-City Herald.com. 4 June 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
  19. ^ "Port of Kennewick".
  20. ^ "Port of Kennewick".
  21. ^ Seattle Times: "Clover Island lighthouse" Archived 2014-07-23 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ "Kennewick, WA to Portland, OR". Google. Retrieved 2015-07-14.
  23. ^ "Kennewick, WA to Seattle, WA". Google. Retrieved 2015-07-14.
  24. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  25. ^ "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2012-07-02. Retrieved 2012-12-19.
  26. ^ "Climatography of the United States 1971–2000COOP ID: 454154". Western Regional Climate Center. Retrieved 24 February 2018.
  27. ^ "Weather History for Pasco, WA [Washington] for July". Archived from the original on 2012-11-11.
  28. ^ "Interactive Map of Washington Record High and Low Temperatures".
  29. ^ Moffatt, Riley. Population History of Western U.S. Cities & Towns, 1850-1990. Lanham: Scarecrow, 1996, 331.
  30. ^ United States Census Bureau. "Census of Population and Housing". Archived from the original on April 26, 2015. Retrieved September 19, 2013.
  31. ^ "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 9, 2019.
  32. ^ "KTCV-FM 88.1 MHz Radio Station Information".
  33. ^ FAQ - Kennewick High School Football
  34. ^ "Eastern Washington high school stadium guide".
  35. ^ "Elementary Schools (K - 5)".
  36. ^ "Middle Schools (6 - 8)".
  37. ^ "High Schools".
  38. ^ "Sister Cities, States, Counties & Ports" Archived November 5, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. State of Washington. Retrieved February 28, 2010.

External links

  • City of Kennewick
  • Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce