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Not to be confused with Kennewick man.
Kennewick, Washington
Nickname(s): The Grassy Place

Location of Kennewick, Washington

Coordinates: 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
Greg Jones
Don Britain
Bob Olson
John Hubbard
Bob Parks
Paul Parish
 • 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 (2012[3]) 75,971
 • Density 2,744.8/sq mi (1,059.8/km2)
 • Urban 153,851
 • Metro 264,133 (US: 176th)
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 is a city in Benton County in the southeastern part of the State of Washington, near the Hanford nuclear site. It is the most populous of the three cities collectively referred to as the Tri-Cities (the others being Pasco and Richland). Kennewick is located along the southwest bank of the Columbia River, opposite Pasco and just south of the confluence of the Columbia and Yakima rivers. The population was 73,917 at the 2010 census. April 1, 2012 estimates from the Washington State Office of Financial Management put the city's population at 75,160.[5]

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

Forbes magazine named Kennewick the #2 area in the United States for job growth,[6] while nearby Yakima was named #1.[6] The article cites the number of scientists employed by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and area farmland for this outlook.


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), and also for having Caucasoid features, despite being indigenous. Ownership of the bones has been a matter of great controversy.

The name "Kennewick" is believed to be a native word meaning "grassy place."[7] 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. Arguably the strangest was "Tehe" which was allegedly attributed to the reaction from a native girl's laughter when asked the name of the region.

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.


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.” [11] The streets of downtown Kennewick are home to several bronze art sculptures, art galleries and wine bars - all to be explored.

Kennewick is the host city of the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League, as well as of the Indoor Football League's Tri-Cities Fever. 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.

  • World Trade Center Memorial Monument:

A 9/11 – World Trade Center Memorial Monument is in its Southridge area. Kennewick is one of few cities to have acquired an external vertical support column artifact salvaged from the World Trade Center.[12] 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.[13] The central part of the monument is a 35-foot twisted column of steel weighing nearly 6000 pounds.[12]

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.[14] 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:

In May 2010, a 62-foot lighthouse was constructed on Clover Island (located on the Columbia River) in Kennewick, WA (Seattle Times article). 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.


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).[15]

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 barely escapes a desert climate (Köppen climate classification BWk) with chilly though not severe winters with frequent light rainfall, and hot, very dry summers made tolerable by the low humidity. Snowfall is rare and 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
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.08
Snowfall inches (cm) 4.4
Avg. 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
Avg. 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: [16]


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201275,9712.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[18]
2012 Estimate[19]

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.

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.


Public schools located in the city are part of the Kennewick School District. The Kennewick School District has fourteen elementary schools (Amistad, Canyon View, Cascade, Cottonwood, Eastgate, Edison, Hawthorne, Lincoln, Ridge View, Southgate, Sunset View, Vista, Washington, Westgate), four middle schools (Park, Highlands, Desert Hills, Horse Heaven Hills), three high schools: Kennewick High School (the Lions), Kamiakin High School (the Braves), and Southridge High School (the Suns), and a vocational school operated by Kennewick and other local school districts, the Tri-Tech Skills Center.

Notable people

Sister cities

Kennewick has the following sister cities:[20]


External links

  • City of Kennewick
  • Tri-City Herald newspaper

Coordinates: 46°12′13″N 119°09′33″W / 46.203475°N 119.15927°W / 46.203475; -119.15927

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