Kennewick, Washington

"Kennewick" redirects here. For prehistoric Paleoamerican man, see Kennewick Man.
Kennewick, Washington
Nickname(s): The Grassy Place

Location of 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
County Benton
  Type Council-Manager
  City council Mayor Steve Young
Matt Boehnke
Greg Jones
Don Britain
Paul Parish
Bob Parks
John Trumbo
  City manager Marie Mosley
  City 28.36 sq mi (73.45 km2)
  Land 26.93 sq mi (69.75 km2)
  Water 1.43 sq mi (3.70 km2)
Elevation 407 ft (124 m)
Population (2010)[2]
  City 73,917
  Estimate (2015)[3] 78,896
  Rank US: 429th
  Density 2,744.8/sq mi (1,059.8/km2)
  Urban 210,975 (US: 171th)
  Metro 279,116 (US: 169th)
Time zone Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)
  Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP codes 99336, 99337, 99338
Area code(s) 509
FIPS code 53-35275
GNIS feature ID 1512347[4]

Kennewick (/ˈkɛnəˌwɪk/) 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. 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. April 1, 2013 estimates from the Washington State Office of Financial Management put the city's population at 76,410.[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.

Kennewick Man is the name for the remains of a prehistoric man found on a bank of the Columbia River in 1996. The remains are notable for their age (some 9,300 years). Ownership of the bones has been a matter of great controversy.

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 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 river via ferry.[8]

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

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 the prologue to World War II, the United States opened the Hanford nuclear site roughly nine miles northwest of Kennewick.[11] Its purpose originally to help produce nuclear weaponry, and indeed the plutonium refined there made it into the Fat Man bomb used to attack Nagasaki in the decisive final blow of World War II. Many employees of that site commuted from Kennewick then, and as the site's purpose has evolved, there has continually been a tremendous influence from the site on the workforce and economy of Kennewick.[12]


Historic Downtown Kennewick, WA. Photo credit: Theresa Will

Kennewick lies along the Columbia River and the famous Lewis and Clark Trail. As of 2013, the historical downtown area is undergoing a rebirth evidenced by a diverse mix of businesses which include a specialty gift boutique in a newly restored building, art galleries, local breweries and upscale dining, and a full service hardware center. “Public artwork and recent streetscape improvements create a pleasing pedestrian environment. Through its efforts, the Historic Downtown Kennewick Partnership is creating new life for the commercial district while working to protect its pioneer heritage and historic buildings.”[13] The streets of downtown Kennewick are home to several bronze art sculptures, art galleries and wine bars.

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

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. Every year during the summer, hydroplane racing takes place at the Water Follies event on the Columbia River. Residents from all of southeastern Washington come to Kennewick to shop in the city's commercial district, the center point of which is Columbia Center Mall. Also, every year in August, there is the Benton-Franklin County Fair held at the fairgrounds. Kennewick is also the site of the annual Titanium Man (International Distance) and Plutonium Man (Half-Iron Distance) triathlons.

The World Trade Center Memorial Monument in Kennewick, Washington.
Photo credit: Dianna Martin

A 9/11 – World Trade Center Memorial Monument is in its Southridge area. Kennewick is one of a few cities to have acquired an external vertical support column artifact salvaged from the World Trade Center.[14] Lampson International worked in conjunction with the City of Kennewick and the Port Authorities of New York and New Jersey to facilitate the monument's fabrication.[15] The central part of the monument is a 35-foot (11 m) twisted column of steel weighing nearly 6,000 pounds (2,700 kg).[14]

The memorial site was dedicated on the 10th anniversary of the tragedy in memory of the 2,977 men and women who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.[16] The memorial is located at the Southridge Sports 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 Lighthouse overlooking the Columbia River. Photo Credit: Brian Gomez
See also: Clover Island

In May 2010, a 62-foot lighthouse was constructed on Clover Island (located on the Columbia River) in Kennewick, WA.[17] Clover Island, which is a 16-acre recreational destination near downtown Kennewick, is also home to restaurants, a hotel, and a yacht club. According to the Port of Kennewick, this is the most recently constructed lighthouse in the state of Washington, and is the first lighthouse to be built in the United States since 1962.[18] The United States Coast Guard-approved lighthouse flashes a beacon every four seconds. The Port of Kennewick’s website states that by “constructing a gateway, pathway, lighthouse and public plaza on Clover Island, the Port of Kennewick created physical and visual access to the Columbia River and transformed a ‘distressed neighborhood’ into an urban waterfront destination.” Clover Island offers access to the beautiful scenery along the Columbia and continues to be a popular destination for recreation, wildlife viewing, and entertainment.


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[19] and 225 miles (362 km) southeast of Seattle, Washington.[20] 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).[21]

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.[1]


Kennewick has a semi-arid climate (Köppen BSk), that closely borders on a desert climate (Köppen BWk). Winters are chilly but not severe, with frequent light rainfall, and hot, very dry summers made tolerable by the low humidity. 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) 68
Average high °F (°C) 40.4
Average low °F (°C) 28.0
Record low °F (°C) −19
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: [22]

[23] [24]


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201578,896[25]6.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[27]
2015 Estimate[3]

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.[28] 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.[29] Lampson Stadium has a capacity of 6,800 people.[30]


The following are schools in Kennewick:

Elementary (K-5)[31]

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

Middle (6-8)[32]

High (9-12)[33]

Notable people

Sister cities

Kennewick has the following sister cities:[34]


  1. 1 2 "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-12-19.
  2. 1 2 "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-12-19.
  3. 1 2 "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  4. "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  5. "April 1, 2013 Population of Cities, Towns and Counties Used for Allocation of Selected State Revenues State of Washington" (PDF). Washington State Office of Financial Management (web site). 2014-06-14. Retrieved 2014-06-14.
  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
  8. First trains cross the Northern Pacific Railroad bridge spanning the Columbia River between Pasco and Kennewick on December 3, 1887. at Retrieved November 16, 2009.
  9. Gibson, Elizabeth. "Benton County – Thumbnail History". 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." May 29, 2006. Retrieved February 28, 2010.
  11. "Google Maps". Google Maps.
  12. "In strange twist, Hanford cleanup creates latest boom".
  13. "Washington's Main Street Communities." Main Street Communities. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 May 2013
  14. 1 2 "Lampson International, LLC-Home" (PDF). Lampson International, LLC-Home. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
  15. "Kennewick's 9-11 Memorial Is At Southridge Sports Complex". 1027 KORD. 4 June 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
  16. "Kennewick to Unveil Memorial of 9/11 Attacks on Sunday". Tri-City 4 June 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
  17. Port of Kennewick: About Clover Island
  18. Seattle Times: Clover Island lighthouse
  19. "Kennewick, WA to Portland, OR". Google. Retrieved 2015-07-14.
  20. "Kennewick, WA to Seattle, WA". Google. Retrieved 2015-07-14.
  21. "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  22. "Climatography of the United States 1971–2000
    COOP ID: 454154"
    (PDF). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 9 May 2012.
  23. Weather History for Pasco, WA [Washington] for July
  24. Interactive Map of Washington Record High and Low Temperatures
  25. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  26. Moffatt, Riley. Population History of Western U.S. Cities & Towns, 1850-1990. Lanham: Scarecrow, 1996, 331.
  27. United States Census Bureau. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved September 19, 2013.
  28. KTCV-FM 88.1 MHz Radio Station Information
  29. FAQ - Kennewick High School Football
  30. Eastern Washington high school stadium guide | Tri-City Herald
  31. Elementary Schools (K - 5)
  32. Middle Schools (6 - 8)
  33. High Schools
  34. "Sister Cities, States, Counties & Ports". State of Washington. Retrieved February 28, 2010.

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kennewick, Washington.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Kennewick.
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