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Richland

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, in 1905 and an irrigation canal was built, which watered 3,500 acres. One source states that in 1904 the place was named for Nelson Rich, a landowner. Others claim that the name was given because of the rich soil and that the post office application for the use of the name Benton was rejected and that “Richland, a euphonious title [for] the most fertile soil in the world…” was immediately substituted and promptly approved on October 12, 1905.

A haze appearing at certain times over this section was, according to Native American tradition, smoke from the camp of departed warriors and chiefs, who have come back to earth for a short sojourn. Old tribesmen said they had seen their shadowy forms performing ceremonial dances around campfires and cornshock tepees. Many Native American relics were found on a nearby island and along the shores of the Columbia. As of 1941, Native Americans in the vicinity still, according to custom, would bury personal belongings with the dead; for tobacco users, a small supply of tobacco was provided so that the departed may smoke in the hereafter.

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Gold Coast Historic District

Constructed between 1943 and 1949 by the United States government through contracts with the Dupont Company and the General Electric Company. The name “Gold Coast” came about in the 1940s and 50s when the area provided housing for white-collar employees and executives/managers of the Hanford Engineer Works (HEW) and was later home to many of the community’s doctors, lawyers and other professionals. This planned community of government-built residences, known as alphabet homes, was designed and constructed to house the operational personnel for the Hanford site. The district is an example of housing developments built from the mid-1930s through the early 1950s, reflecting New Deal social planning and housing experiments, and wartime emergency housing projects. The homes were designed by noted Spokane architect Gustav Albin Pehrson, who contracted with the DuPont Company to design the entire community.