In Benton County, in Southeastern Washington, lays Richland – a city situated at the confluence of the Yakima River and the Columbia River - also known as Tri-Cities with Pasco and Kennewick for company. Richland is more famous for being the center of production and research in nuclear energy and related technology and is home to the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) since 1965.
An agriculture-based city thanks to the highly favorable Columbia Basin, Richland has become a natural choice for a base for food processing companies like ConAgra/Lamb-Weston.
The production of wine is another main industry at Richland facilitated by the excellent produce grown at the Columbia Basin. In fact, Richland is internationally acclaimed for its flourishing viticulture comprising four major Washington appellations, namely 7,000 hectares of wine grapes plantations at the Columbia Valley appellation, 5,000 hectares of the Yakima Valley appellation on the west, 500 hectares of the Walla Walla Valley to the east and 350 hectares of the Red Mountain to the immediate west. Wineries are situated in Richland abundance, including names like Barnard Griffin Winery, Bookwalter Winery, and Tagaris Winery.
W R Amon and his son Howard laid down the foundation of Richland in 1904-05 when they bought 2,300 acres of land on the north bank of Yakima river as a town site. They registered the site with the Benton County courthouse in 1906 upon its approval as Richland by the postal authorities in 1905. Finally, on April 28, 1910, the city was incorporated as Washington's fourth-class city.
Delving deeper into history reveals that the Army Corps of Engineers were mostly behind the planning of Richland. During World War II, the US Army purchased 1660 km² of this sleepy little farm town to turn it into a bedroom community for workers on its Manhattan Project. By the end of World War II, the population increased from 300 to 25,000, and access to the city was restricted to residents and other personnel authorized by the US army. Housing and other facilities were assigned to residents for a token rent. In 1947, the cold war with the Soviet Union assumed prominence and revived the US nuclear program, which in turn gave a boost to the population of Richland once again.
Since World War days, the government-owned all the property in Richland. However, the government decided to get out of the landlord business in 1957 and sold the real estate in the area to the residents. In 1958, Richland was incorporated as a self-governed chartered First Class City. However, the city still remained primarily financially dependent on the Hanford site as the mission continued for years during the cold war. Even now Hanford site provides prominent employment in the area with local residents employed with it in its environmental cleanup mission.
As regards recreation, sports, and other outdoor activities, Richland provides ideal environs for golf, boating, water skiing, fishing, kayaking, and waterfowl hunting opportunities.