The Seattle Space Needle, built for the 1962 World's Fair, was designed to withstand winds of up to 200 miles per hour and earthquakes of up to 9.0 magnitude.
Located in the state of Washington, Benton County has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. Before European settlers arrived, the area was inhabited by various indigenous tribes, including the Wanapum, Yakama, and Nez Perce tribes. These tribes relied heavily on the Columbia River as a source of food and transportation.

The history of Benton County took a significant turn in the mid-1800s with the arrival of white settlers. The region became part of the Oregon Territory in 1848, and the establishment of the Oregon Trail in the 1840s brought more settlers to the area. The discovery of gold in the nearby Walla Walla Valley brought a temporary influx of people to Benton County, although the gold rush was relatively short-lived.

In 1855, the Yakama Indian Reservation was established, which covered a significant portion of Benton County. This reservation is still present today and has played a crucial role in the history and development of the county. The land was predominantly used for farming and agriculture, with wheat being the primary crop.

With the introduction of irrigation systems in the early 1900s, Benton County experienced a significant agricultural boom. The arid landscapes were transformed into fertile fields, boosting the economy and attracting more settlers. The construction of dams along the Columbia River also brought hydroelectric power to Benton County, contributing to its growth and development.

Over the years, Benton County has continued to evolve, with a strong emphasis on agriculture and technological advancements. Today, the county is home to the city of Richland, which played a pivotal role in the development of nuclear energy during World War II. The Hanford Site, a former nuclear production complex, is located in Benton County and has shaped the county's history and identity.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Benton County, Washington.

  • 1841 - The area that is now Benton County is explored by fur traders.
  • 1853 - The Yakama Indian Reservation is established in the county.
  • 1855 - The Walla Walla Treaty is signed, ceding land to the United States and opening the region for settlement.
  • 1880 - Benton County is officially established, named after U.S. Senator Thomas Hart Benton.
  • 1902 - The Columbia River is dammed to create irrigation canals, transforming the county's agricultural potential.
  • 1943 - The Hanford Site, a top-secret facility for the Manhattan Project, is established in Benton County.
  • 1950s - The population grows rapidly as a result of the Hanford Site's expansion.
  • 1960s-1970s - Benton County's economy grows with the construction of additional nuclear reactors at the Hanford Site.
  • 1989 - Cleanup efforts at the Hanford Site begin due to concerns about environmental contamination.