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Pasco to Yakima

  • Distance: 97 miles
  • Routes: Interstate 82, SR 12, Yakima Valley HWY
  • Estimated Driving time: 2 hours

This section of the tour crosses an arid district with numerous towns, born of the coming of the railroads in the 1880s and, by the introduction of irrigation at the turn of the century, developed into rich agricultural centers. The highway curves northward through grain, hop, and alfalfa fields, broad fruit orchards, truck gardens, and dairy ranches, some of the earliest specialized farms in the state.

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The seat of Franklin County, spreads its attractive public buildings, landscaped grounds, and business blocks over a level desert plain at the confluence of the Snake and Columbia rivers. The city is an important division point on the Northern Pacific Railway, and the majority of its skilled workers were employed in the roundhouse and machine shops. Pasco remains the hub of the social, political, and commercial activity of the large...

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Franklin County Courthouse

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Pasco Carnegie Library

Kennewick and Pasco lie in a depression, created during the geologic period when the Cascades and the Okanogan Highlands were elevated and the entire plateau of eastern Washington altered. The Ed Hendler Bridge, a cable span built in 1978, replaces the former 1914-era Pasco-Kennewick Bridge and the arch-truss Blue Bridge (officially Pioneer Memorial Bridge), so named for its blue paint. It spans the river between Pasco and Kennewick on routes...

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This compact little city in the middle of fertile lands and orchards, named with an Indian word translated as ”grassy place, winter paradise, and dried acorns,”  was a bunchgrass waste until platted by the Northern Pacific Irrigation Company in 1892. The Yakima Irrigation and Improvement Company later boomed the town by importing settlers from the Middle West. Irrigation canals were in operation by 1903, causing a land boom. Although some...

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This tour once traversed an area of berry fields, alfalfa farms, and orchards, between networks of irrigation flumes and ditches. The wide reaches of the Columbia River are visible. Today, the urban growth of the Tri-Cities metropolitan area has replaced the majority of former agricultural elements in this area. The tour passes along the Northern Pacific Irrigation Company Canal, formed in 1902 and operating as part of the larger Columbia...

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An irrigation boom town that settled into a farming community. An important annual event was the Old Time Picnic, held the last part of July. This has since become the Annual Sidewalk Art Show, now in its 57th year, held at Howard Amon Park. Richland was founded by Benjamin Rosencrance in 1900, a farmer who bought land from Northern Pacific Railway. A town site was platted by H. M. Amon,...

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Gold Coast Historic District

A high railroad embankment divides Kiona (Ind. “brown hills”) into two strikingly contrasting sections. Scattered on the hillside above the tracks between the station house and a large group of sheep pens, old weather beaten structures are framed against a background of desolate, sage-covered desert. Below the hill the buildings are sprucely painted, the houses are neat, and a few trees are growing. Originally the town was named Horseshoe Bend,...

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Settled in 1909, it grew considerably in ensuing decades in population and activity, in harmony with the development of the surrounding area. The town was named for Benton S. Grosscup, who aided in securing separation of Benton County from Yakima County. Today, it is home to several wineries; this town and surrounding areas draw a fair amount of wine tourism.

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Points of Interest
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Benton City-Kiona Bridge

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Kendall Holstein Dairy

Mile: 1

Tour runs along the north base of the Horse Heaven Hills (see Tour 7b), where sheep and cattle find good grazing grounds. At night will-o-the-wisps are frequent along this bleak and lonely road. Flame-colored, and about three feet above the ground, they are often mistaken by motorists for a single vehicular light. Sternly realistic farmers, their hands still smarting from the handle of a plow, have reported “balls of fire”...

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The largest city and seat of Benton County, and a shipping point for cattle and sheep; also dubbed the birthplace of Washington’s wine industry. It was an Indian camp during salmon runs in the river. The first settler, James Kinney, homesteaded in 1880. Several names have been given to the place including Yakima Falls, and later, Prosser Falls. At one time, it was known as Cook’s or Colonel Cook’s Ferry....

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Points of Interest
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Prosser City Park

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Prosser Flouring Mill

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US Post Office

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Benton County Courthouse

Sidetrip: Mabton

This 15-mile trip takes you to a portion of the historic transcontinental highway the Yellowstone Trail and Mabton, a small railroad town.

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A city with wide, well-lighted and paved streets, it was founded in 1906, during the wholesale town-building and real-estate promotion era. Division Street is the main business thoroughfare, bounded on either side by substantial, two-story business buildings. There were few frame structures. The snow-capped volcanic peaks of Mount Adams and Mount Rainier are signal points in the view for which the town was named. Benefited by the Yakima Irrigation Project,...

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Grandview City Parks

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Morse House

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Howay-Dykstra House

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Grandview Herald Building

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Iowa Building

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E.O. Keck Building

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Grandview City Hall

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Grandview State Bank

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Grandview High School

Walled by the Horse Heaven Hills and surrounded by valleys checkered with farms and orchards. This arid region attracted the attention of land promoters in 1893. Walter N. Granger, president of the newly formed Sunnyside Canal Company, named the town in 1893 and opened the first store in January 1894. By the middle of that year the town was given a post office, and a stage connected it with Mabton....

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Points of Interest
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Milk Products Company Plant

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Ben Snipes Cabin

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US Post Office

Founded in 1902, this town was also named by Walter N. Granger, of the Sunnyside Canal Company. Situated in a flat valley, the town is the center of a dairying and livestock area. Three or four crops of alfalfa are shipped from here annually. Granger achieved notoriety in 1936, when an enterprising justice of the peace announced a price of only 39 cents for performing weddings. The justice, who lived...

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Points of Interest
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Yakima Valley Academy

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Hislop Sheep Pens

Another town developed by irrigation and promoted and named by Walter N. Granger, founded in 1892 and platted in the early 1900s. Rows of warehouses and packing sheds were strung along the railroad tracks paralleling the highway. Apples, cherries, and peaches were packed here, and the Mount Arbor Nursery maintains its Yakima Valley branch in Zillah. This branch no longer exists, though Soil Conditioners, Inc. provides organic fertilizers. The Zillah...

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Points of Interest
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Vix Air Circulation Company

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Toppenish-Zillah Bridge

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Teapot Dome Service Station

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Kerby Barn

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Theodore Clausing Barn

A railroad station southeast of Yakima in east central Yakima County, named by the Northern Pacific Railway when a station was established in 1910. They used the Spanish word for good or pleasant. Previously the place was called Konewock, an Indian word meaning a lush, green marshy place. For a time, it was also called Parker Bottom, then Springdale. When a post office was established in 1913 there was another...

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It was an important point for rail shipments of fruit and was named by Northern Pacific officials for William Perry Sawyer, from whom they acquired a local right-of-way. For a time the place was called Sawyer Station. In 1919 Mr. Sawyer was described as “… one of the most prominent men in the Yakima Valley, an active champion of the good roads movement, of educational interests and of all things...

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Points of Interest
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Matton Cabin

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W.P. Sawyer House and Orchard

A railway point north of the Yakima River, southeast of Yakima. It was named by the Northern Pacific Railway for George Donald, across whose property a local right-of-way was secured according to the Railroad List. Mr. Donald was also in the railroad business, having once served as president of a local short line railroad and was prominently known in business circles as a bank president, rancher and railroad and ditch...

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Points of Interest
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Donald-Wapato Bridge

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Herke Hop Kiln

The tour follows the curve of the river, lined with balsam and cottonwood trees. Sagebrush struggles for existence above the irrigation ditches. Beyond are farms, orchards, and prairies hedged about by blue-brown hills. Irrigation in the Yakima Valley is entirely independent of the rainfall. Water is controlled by a simple gate and delivered by canal to the highest points on farms, whence it flows to the furrowed fields. Alfalfa and...

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The Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, historically the lands of the Yakama, extended along the Cascade Mountain Range to the Columbia River and beyond. The lands are sheltered from the rains by the Cascade Mountains and extend out into the rolling foothills and along the Yakima River valley. The tribal people comprising the Yakama Nation have lived in this area since the beginning of time. They used...

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This city, first settled in the 1860s, fought a losing battle with a great railroad. When, after many delays the Northern Pacific Railroad built through the valley in 1884, Union Gap (then known as Yakima City) refused to make concessions for terminals. The railroad deliberately created a new town four miles to the north, and called it North Yakima; most of the old town of Yakima City contains buildings moved...

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Points of Interest
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Elizabeth Louden Carmichael House

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Alexander McAlister House

On the Yakima River at the geographic center of the great Yakima Valley, the town owes its growth to the development of the surrounding region, where approximately 500,000 acres of irrigated land historically produced bountiful crops of fruits, vegetables, hops, hay, and alfalfa. Almost ringed by sage-covered hills, the city lies upon level ground except for elevations in some of the suburban areas. Along broad Yakima Avenue is the main...

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Points of Interest
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Masonic Temple

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U.S. Post Office and Courthouse

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A. E. Larson Building

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Old North Yakima Historic District

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Yakima Valley Transportation Company (YVTC)

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