History and Highlights of Pasco
Quick Pasco History
Like today, a mild climate and an abundant fish supply ensured that early settlers thrived along the banks of the Columbia, Yakima, and Snake rivers. Evidence of the earliest known inhabitants in the Western Hemisphere were found in northern Franklin County
at the Marmes Rockshelter
, near Lyons Ferry and Palouse Falls.
In 1805, the Lewis and Clark Expedition
camped at the confluence of the Columbia and Snake rivers in an area that 200 years later is called Sacagawea State Park
in honor of their Native American guide. Little did they know the surrounding area would be called Pasco, today a bustling, thriving community of 65,600 people.
The Northern Pacific Railroad brought a rush of settlers to the Washington Territory, leading to statehood in 1889. The railroad town of Ainsworth was moved to Pasco in 1886 and brought with it the Franklin County seat. Pasco was incorporated on September 3, 1891, and was named by Virgil Bogue
, an engineer for the railroad, after Cerro de Pasco in Peru.
Pasco grew to be a small but important railroad town in the years before World War II. The war brought the Manhattan Project
, the United States' development of the atomic bomb, to the nearby Hanford Site
. Pasco, along with the rest of the area, played an vital support role in that effort. Pasco was also home to Naval Air Station Pasco
(the current Tri-Cities Airport
) and the Pasco Engineer Depot
(still called "Big Pasco
" today). These wartime activities more the doubled the population seemingly overnight.
Post-war, Hanford played an important role in the area economy, and it continues through today in the cleanup effort. Additionally, the build out of irrigation projects, such as the Columbia Basin Project
, made agriculture an even more critical part of the economy of Pasco and Franklin County.
Pasco’s growth is also energized by its location as a transportation hub. In the beginning, the city relied entirely on the river and rail for transportation, but has since matured into a genuine hub including surface, air, water, and rail; all modes moving agricultural goods, dry goods, technology, and other products to near and distant corners of the globe.
Population and Community
Pasco has experienced rapid residential growth in the 21st century, growing from a 2000 population of 32,066 to a 2013 population estimate of 65,600. This growth has occurred hand-in-hand with increasing quality of life - Pasco's crime rate has dropped 83% since 1989, Pasco was 2nd in "10 Washington State Cities On The Rise in 2014
", one of Washington State's "Safest Cities
", and one of the "Best Places for Home Ownership
". For more detailed demographic information, visit the U.S. Census Bureau
Boasting good schools, health care facilities, faith communities, numerous retail/professional opportunities, recreational areas, and predominantly good weather, Pasco is a place where people put down roots and raise families in a safe, forward-thinking, active environment.
Pasco's Recreation Features
Pasco is a sports-minded community! Some of the amenities offered include:
- 15 miles of pathway overlooking the majestic Columbia River for bikers and hikers
- 20 soccer fields
- 24 public tennis courts
- A 3.1-mile cross-country course dedicated for walkers, joggers, and runners
- A 50-meter pool
- A multi-purpose outdoor stadium with state-of-the-art turf field and a 10-lane, all-weather running track capable of hosting state-level football and track events
Pasco is nestled among the Columbia, Yakima, and Snake rivers in southeastern Washington State. Average climate data:
- Average high temperature: 66 Degrees
- Average low temperature: 44 Degrees
- Average rainfall: 6.5 inches per year
- Average snowfall: 2.75 inches per year
- Elevation: 407 feet above sea level
- Growing season: 185 days per year
- Latitude: 46°16'N
- Longitude: 119°07'W
- Sunshine: 300 days per year
For more information on the many opportunities in Pasco to live, work and play, visit: