History of Kennewick from 1910 to 1929

April 18, 2012 

Another segment of one woman's history of Kennewick, this time from 1910 to 1929.

Growth of Kennewick since origin has been astounding

Published on February 19, 1950

By Mrs. R. E. Reed


The Emigh and Howe buildings were built.

The farmers in horse heaven had a grand wheat crop.

School children were given free medical inspections for the first time.

We enjoyed our first movie show in November but we only had a show twice a week.


In October, the city council approved plans and specifications for a sewage system for Kennewick. A few months later bonds were voted and work began.

We celebrated our first Strawberry Festival.

Two creameries began operation but soon consolidated and carried on in a concrete building just north of the Church Grape Juice factory.

Kennewick's first Grape Festival was held Sept. 21-22, 1911, with Nima Hoadley (Mouncey) as the first queen. The displays were taken to the State Fair in Spokane and took first prize.


The $60,000 school building, now used by the grade school, was completed and the building on the north side of town was abandoned.

Prof. C. O. Kimball organized a Kennewick Choral Society.

H. Z. Brown built and operated a basket-making factory.

There was a lot of talk about a cannery but nothing was done about it.

Prosser and Kennewick both wanted the courthouse but Prosser won.

The Oregon-Washington Railroad company built its line into Kennewick and ran its first train over it.

First cement sidewalks were lain.

The electric light system was installed in the highlands.

Highlanders harvested their first crop of fruit.


The Kennewick Woman's Club was organized.

The Standard Oil Co. built a distribution station to take care of the territory between Grandview and Ritzville.

Our flour mill (since burned) was built by Wilhelm Helm.


The library began to lend books free of charge and was kept open several afternoons instead of just Saturday.

The Kennewick Fruit Exchange adopted the label "Big K" for a trademark.

The Courier and The Reporter newspapers consolidated.

The first freight car load of cherries was shipped.

The farmers took over the local creamery and operated it on a cooperative basis.

Oil was found in the Rattlesnake hills.


Kennewick established a Port District to be able to secure the fullest advantage of open river traffic.

We celebrated the opening of the Celilo canal. Pasco, Wallula and Kennewick celebrated together and the crowd was brought over from Pasco on ferry boats. Kennewick furnished the food which consisted of barbecued meat, buns and coffee.

There were several boats on the river -- the W. R. Todd (Harry Vibber was purser on this boat), the J. N. Teal, Jerome, Mountain Gem, Umatilla dredge and the Richland Flyer. This last was a gasoline launch and carried the mail to and from Richland. The other boats went up the river as far as White Bluffs.

The Valley clubhouse was built.

The post office was moved from the Hover block to the building next to the bank.


Prohibition went into effect, closing all saloons.

It was real cold this year and we had 20 inches of snow. The trains were all late and some were snowed in between here and Spokane.

The Tum-A-Lum Company bought the lumber yard from the Cascade Co.

The fire whistle was installed on top of the bank.

The first freight car load of Concord grapes was shipped out of the valley in 3370 seven-pound baskets.

The Boy Scouts was organized.


An ice jam in the Yakima River caused the bridge to Richland to go out.

This was war time and everyone was busy with Red Cross drives and other war-time activities.

Gus Neuman bought the King & Son grocery store.

The school census showed 700 enrolled.


The Big Y enlarged its plant to take car of The big apple crop. Six hundred freight cars of fruit were shipped.

Floyd Kelso brought the first airplane to Kennewick. Gladys Hudnall and Floyd were married and left by plane on their honeymoon.

People began to think about an airport but noting was done, also some talk of a passenger bridge across the Columbia.

The Walla Walla Gas, Oil & Pipe Line Co. built the building now occupied by "The Cottage" as a Kennewick office.


According to the federal census Kennewick lacked just 14 people of being the largest city in Benton County.

The Woman's Auxiliary to the American Legion was organized.

The members of the M. E. church made plans to build a $35,000 church to be used as a civic center.

A. F. Brown, who owned the telephone system, bought the building now occupied by Carlberg's.


A chlorine plant to purify the domestic drinking water was installed.

The members of the Christian Church began their first building.

Farmers and towns people held their first fair.

M. O. Klitten purchased the flour mill.

The clock on the bank building (recently vacated) was installed.

We had a cold winter with 27 below and 10 inches of snow.


The Northern Pacific Irrigation Company gave six acres of land on the south side of the ditch to be used as a park.

The highway bridge across the Columbia was finished and operated as a toll bridge.

We had a hot, dry summer.

The Kiwanis club was organized.

Highland Clubhouse members celebrated he fact that their building was paid for.

The J. C. Penney store opened its doors for business in May.


There was some talk of a free bridge across the Columbia.

Mr. Neuman opened a department store and bought out the Home Grocery.

Oil was found in Attalia.

Mr. and Mrs. B. B. Plowman purchased the palm Cafe (now Arrow Grill).

Work was started on The Kennewick-Plymouth road.


H. E. Oliver bought the Standard Station he now operates on Kennewick Avenue at Benton.

The Grange put on a rolling grocery with George Stradford as driver.

Streets were renamed in preparation for mail delivery.

Due to the warm spring asparagus was cut as early as February.

The county commissioners considered paving the road between Kennewick and Richland.


The city bought the Beach block (built in 1906) to be used as a library, city hall and police station. The upper floor was leased to the Masonic order.

J. G. Kelly of Walla Walla bought the controlling interest in the Church Grape Juice plant.

This year the community held the local far in the store windows.

On July 1, city delivery of mail started.

We shipped 29 freight cars of asparagus.


The first district conference of The Washington Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs was held here Feb. 18-19.

In March the Isaac Walton League was organized.

The Kiwanis club sponsored a public playground during the vacation months with Harriet Hudnall as director.

The fair grounds were used for the first time with temporary buildings for displays. The organization cleared $800 to be used for new buildings.

We shipped 50 freight cars of peaches.

Mr. A. T. Belair of Prosser purchased the local bakery from Mr. Chas. Haas.


A carload of lettuce was shipped.

The airport was purchased on Nob Hill.

The streets of Kennewick were to be oiled from the bridge to the city limits on Kennewick Avenue and Third Avenue East between Washington Street and the SP&S depot.

A drive for funds to build restrooms in the park was made by selling badges.

On Sept. 22 a large crowd gathered in the park to celebrate its first building unit.

L. W. Fine, manager of the theatre here, announce that we would have sound pictures in the future.

During the winter we experienced 29 degrees below zero. This was wen we had the brown snowfall. We seemed to have a snowstorm and a sandstorm at the same time.

This year we tried out the Community Chest idea which has been carried on ever since.

Plowman's moved their restaurant to the Hover block.

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