Richland, Washington
Richland, Washington

Downtown Richland, Washington by Corbin Harder 

Located in the southeast corner of Washington State, you’ll find the city of Richland. It’s a place where the peaceful Columbia River meets the city’s atomic past. The city of Richland was once a farming area. But during the Manhattan Project, it became a center for making nuclear stuff. This project was a big part of America’s defense during the Cold War.

Nowadays, Richland is known for its work in science and technology. The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is one reason why. This lab leads the way in studying energy. And that’s not all. The city is also cleaning up old nuclear sites.

As you learn more about Richland, you’ll see how it has changed. From its early days as a farming community to now being part of the Tri-Cities region, it’s a story of change, growth, and people coming together. Looking at the city’s past helps us understand where it’s going in the future.


The story of Richland, Washington, began with the Chemna village. This was a place where indigenous people lived. Later, in the early 1900s, two men named W.R. Amon and Howard Amon came. They saw that the land was good for farming. This was because of its location. It was where the Yakima and Columbia Rivers met.

In 1910, Richland became an official city. Even then, it was a small place where people farmed. But, everything changed during World War II. The U.S. government needed land for a secret project. This project was called the Manhattan Project. They chose Richland for this.

This choice made a big change for Richland. Many people came to work on the project. They needed somewhere to live. So, Richland became a place where these workers could live. This was a big part of the city’s growth during the Cold War. It also made the city an important part of American history.


The city of Richland has a strong economy. It is known for its work in the field of nuclear energy. This work includes research, development, and production, all happening here in Richland. This has made the city an important place for science and its economy is strong because of it.

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is a key part of this. It is based in Richland and is a big part of the city’s work in energy. Because of this, the city has become a leader in the energy sector. Many skilled workers have moved to Richland to join this work.

What They DoName of Place
Work in EnergyPacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)
Teach and LearnWashington State University, Tri-Cities
Grow Grapes for WineColumbia Valley appellation
Work in TechHigh-tech businesses & consultancies

But there’s more to Richland than just nuclear energy. The city also does important work in education, wine making, and technology. These areas also add to the city’s strong economy.


Richland is a place filled with many different cultures. This comes from its unique history and the people who live there. The Hanford Site and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) are important here. They make the city focus a lot on science. This can be seen in local events and school programs.

Every year, there are fun events like the Richland Regatta and Tumbleweed Music Festival. These events show what makes this region special. They also help to celebrate other cultures. There are also many places to see art in the city. These places show how much Richland loves visual arts. There is also a theater scene for people who love performing arts.

Richland is also close to the Columbia Valley’s wine country. This has a big effect on the food people eat and the kind of tourism in the area. This mix of history, science, and the arts makes Richland’s culture very rich and diverse.


The way the city is run is important because it helps shape the rules and services for everyone who lives there. The way Richland is run is called a council-manager system.

This system is important because it helps make sure things are done in a fair and organized way. The council is made up of seven people. These people are chosen by the people who live in the city, and they serve for four years. This way, there is always someone with experience on the council. The council then picks a city manager. This person’s job is to make sure the council’s rules are being followed and to let the council know what the city needs.

This system is good because it helps make sure the city is run in an efficient and strategic way. It also helps make sure that the people who live in the city are heard. The council and the city manager work on important things like keeping people safe, helping businesses grow, and making sure people have the services they need.


Richland, Washington, has a mix of different types of schools. These are made to give every kind of student what they need, from kids in grade school to adults in college.

  • The Richland School District has many schools for kids of all ages. This is important because it helps kids in Richland get a good education from when they are very young until they are ready for college.
  • Delta High School is a public high school where students learn a lot about science, technology, engineering, and math. This is good because these subjects are important for many jobs in the future.
  • Washington State University Tri-Cities gives students the chance to earn college degrees. This helps them learn more about their field and get ready for their careers.
  • Columbia Basin College gives two-year degrees and other kinds of education to the community. This is a good way for people to learn new skills or get better at what they already know.
  • There are also libraries and online resources in Richland to help people keep learning throughout their life. This is important because learning shouldn’t stop when school does.

In Richland, schools focus on new ways to teach, doing well in school, and getting the community involved. This helps make sure that students are ready for whatever comes next in their lives.


Richland’s life quality and economy thrive on its robust infrastructure. This includes a system of roads that are well looked after. Interstate 182 and State Route 240 are vital roads. They help people commuting to work and goods to get to their destination.

Ben Franklin Transit takes care of public transport. This bus service connects Richland with other cities in the Tri-Cities area.

Richland also cares about travel without motor vehicles. It has paths for bicycles and walkways for people to walk on. These are important to make sure everyone can get around easily.

When it comes to utilities, Richland is well served. The Public Utility District of Richland makes sure electricity is always available. The city looks after services for water and sewage. These are key to the daily life of people living in Richland. They also support businesses and industries in the city.


In Richland, a strong infrastructure has paved the way for loads of fun and exciting things to do. These activities draw in tourists and bring the community together.

  • Columbia River: The Columbia River offers a wide riverfront area. This is a perfect spot for people who love to boat, fish, or play water sports. These water activities can be a great way for people to relax and enjoy nature.
  • Parks and Trails: Richland has many parks and trails. One popular one is the Sacagawea Heritage Trail. These spaces are perfect for people who enjoy hiking, biking, or watching wildlife. They give people a chance to get some exercise while enjoying the beautiful outdoors.
  • Golf Courses: There are several golf courses in Richland. These are great for people who love playing golf. They provide a place where golfers can practice their swing and enjoy a game.
  • Arts and Culture: The Richland Players Theater and the Columbia Center for Arts are two places where people can experience arts and culture. These places show how important arts and culture are to the community. They offer a chance for people to expand their horizons and learn something new.
  • Community Events: Richland holds events like the Tumbleweed Music Festival throughout the year. These help bring the community together. They give people a chance to have fun, meet new people, and feel a part of something bigger.


Richland is where the Yakima River and Columbia River meet. This place is important because it’s part of the Columbia Basin. The Columbia Basin has a climate that is not too wet or too dry and is home to a unique type of ecosystem called shrub-steppe. This ecosystem and climate are vital to Richland. They help crops grow and wine grapes thrive, which are big parts of the city’s economy.

Richland’s location is also important because it’s part of the Pacific Northwest. This place is known for producing energy and doing scientific research. Being close to rivers helps the city make power from water and water crops on farms. Plus, the rocks and earth in this region are studied a lot because of the Hanford Site. The Hanford Site is a place where important work on nuclear technology happened.

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