The Tri-Cities’ unique combination of mighty rivers, cloudless skies, and exceptional climate offers ample opportunities for fun for both locals and visitors alike throughout the year. From sailing to swimming, wine tours to museums, mountain biking to simple hiking, the wonderful Tri-Cities offers it all, having come a long way from its original incorporation over 100 years ago. And showcasing this progress we’ve made along the way and pieces of our history that we’ll never forget are these local landmarks in the Tri-Cities community.
Regional Veterans Memorial
Columbia Park Trl., Kennewick
“In Honor of the Brave,” Kennewick’s Regional Veterans’ Memorial was erected in 2004 within Columbia Park, dedicated to all the brave men and women who have fought valiantly for our country. This epitaph of gratitude leaves a lasting impression on those that pay it a visit with its message speaking loudly to veterans, patriotism, sacrifice, courage, families, and the need to preserve freedom. Hard work and respect went into creating this local landmark in the Tri-Cities area, with a prime objective of showcasing our thanks as a community to all who have served to protect it.
Gesa Carousel of Dreams
2901 Southridge Blvd., Kennewick
No visit to the Tri-Cities area is complete without a stop at the Gesa Carousel of Dreams in the beloved Kennewick. Built in 1910, this now local landmark has had quite the history, with its first state of residency being the Silver Beach Amusement Park in Michigan, where children and adults alike lined up to take a ride for only 25 cents. It stayed there for 62 years before making its way to New Mexico to reside for another 30 years.
Then, in 2002, Ken Johanning and Phil Slusser discovered this hidden gem and committed to bringing it to the Tri-Cities community. Today this historic landmark has found a new home in Kennewick, where it continues to bring fun and joy to boys and girls of all ages.
USS Triton Submarine Memorial Park
Port of Benton Blvd., Richland
In 1960, the USS Triton circumnavigated the globe while staying wholly submerged, making it the first vessel to complete such an accomplishment. This was all thanks to the Triton’s two nuclear reactors used for power and propulsion, which enabled it to safely travel long distances underwater. The Triton and other nuclear-powered submarines were essential elements of the U.S. defense strategy during the Cold War as they monitored Soviet nuclear activities and typically carried atomic weapons of their own.
In memoriam of its feat, the USS Triton Submarine Memorial Park in Richland preserves the Triton’s sail or the top part of the submarine that serves as the command center and observation platform. Today, visitors to the park can enjoy this now local landmark by taking a Triton Sail tour, where they can enter the sail itself, examine the original controls, and touch the periscope to get a better sense of what life was like on a Cold War era nuclear submarine.
Manhattan Project B Reactor
2000 Logston Blvd., Hanford Site in Richland
A historical landmark with a story showcasing some of the world’s richest and most significant scientific accomplishments can be found in the form of Richland’s very own Manhattan Project B Reactor. This reactor residing in the Tri-Cities is actually the world’s first full-scale plutonium production reactor. It can only be found at the Hanford Site, which was established in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project. Those looking to catch a peak of this historic piece of not just Richland, but all U.S. history, can take the tour free of charge and are even welcome to take pictures to capture the memorable experience.
Sacajawea Historical State Park
2503 Sacajawea Park Rd., Pasco
Locals and visitors alike can stand at the place where Native American people encountered the Lewis and Clark Expedition on their famous westward journey at Pasco’s Sacajawea Historical State Park. The park pays homage to this expedition and Sacajawea herself, who was instrumental in the mission’s success. The Washington State Historical Society erected a historical marker within the park in 2010, giving a brief summary of the park’s dedication.
Also within the park is the Sacajawea Interpretive Center which features interactive exhibits on the Corps of Discovery, Sacagawea, and the Sahaptian-speaking tribes of the region from April 1 until October 31 each year. While wandering along the park’s path, you can also find the local landmark known as the Story Circles, which is an art installation by acclaimed artist Maya Lin that celebrates the traditions and cultures of the Columbia Plateau People.
Yes, the Tri-Cities definitely has accumulated a rich history since its creation all those years ago, and these local historic landmarks are here to serve as reminders of that tremendous journey.