East Benton County Historical Society

Hanford, WA town site

Hanford was platted in 1907 on land purchased in 1905 by the Priest Rapids Irrigation and Power Company. The town site is located on the present day Hanford Nuclear Reservation in the approximate location of the 100F area.

In May of 1913, the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad was completed to Hanford. This was a transcontinental link to the area allowing farmers to ship large quantities of produce. This, combined with increasing produce prices (due to WWI) resulted in a major boom in the first two decades of the 20th century.

1943 spelled the end of Hanford. The federal government condemned the town and purchased the land in order to form the Hanford Nuclear Reservation (the Hanford Nuclear Reservation produced the atomic bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki). Every single building was razed save the Hanford High School that still stands today. Unfortunately, a police swat team was allowed to use the building for practice resulting in the sorry state it is in today.

The town site of Hanford is off-limits to unauthorized visitors. The best way to see it is to participate in the infrequent bus tours that are given by the government.


Hanford c. 1915  

View of the hotel and bank in Hanford. The bluffs visible in the distance are on the other side of the Columbia River.


Hanford today looking north  

This is what Hanford looks like today. The view is in a similar location to the one above except that it is looking in a slightly more westerly direction.


Hanford today looking south  

Current Hanford town site looking south.


Hanford town site board  

Town site board erected by the Department of Energy.


Research and photography by Jeremy Wells.

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