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Famous Landmarks in Tri-Cities – Our Top Five

The Tri-Cities definitely has its share of ‘famous’ landmarks. Well, at least famous to us locals. Take a look at our top 5, then and sound off in the comment section below telling us what your favorite landmarks in the Tri-Cities are.

#5 – Flashcube Building

Flashcube Building in Kennewick
(Photo by CKJT Architects)

“The Flashcube Building” is the local name for 4-story Financial Center on the corner of Columbia Center Blvd and Clearwater in Kennewick. Its an iconic structure for anyone that has grown up in the Tri-Cities. There have been many tenants that have come in and out of the Flashcube and Kantor Diamond Company and Global Credit Union are just two of the current businesses that are open.


#4 – Rattlesnake Mountain

Rattlesnake Mountain, Richland
(Photo by Wiki User Umptanum)

Located just a few miles outside of Richland is the tallest treeless mountain in the world…whether that is a fact or not is unknown, but I like to believe that it is. Rattlesnake Mountain is over 3,500 ft. and over looks the Hanford nuclear site. It is privately owned on a majority of one slope, yet federally owned on another. In 1943, Rattlesnake Mountain was seized by the US government and became a buffer zone for the nuclear project at the Hanford nuclear site. In 1956, the Army installed a Nike Ajax missile base on the southeastern end of the ridge and maintained it until 1958, when it was closed. In the late 1960′s an observatory was built atop Rattlesnake Mountain and was home to the largest permanently mounted telescope in the state. In 2008 the Department of Energy returned the area to its natural conditions with removal of the observatory.Historically important and unique, Rattle Snake Mountain played a major role, not only in Tri-Cities, in world history.


#3 – Thompson Hill

The House on Thompson Hill, Kennewick
(Photo from Thompson Hill Cellars Facebook)

Growing up in Kennewick, Thompson Hill was a major part of my ‘skyline’. Since we don’t have skyscrapers or large buildings, the mountains and hills that surround the Tri-Cities make up our own version of a skyline. That large hill, with a single house, and flourishing trees on the property served as the ‘awww…home’ feeling for me when coming back from a roadtrip. Now the house at the top of Thompson Hill has been developed into The House on Thompson Hill Cellars. The estate serves as a  Bed & Breakfast, Wine Tasting Room, and one of the best views of the entire Tri-Cities. If you haven’t already, be sure to visit and experience the unforgettable views, relaxing atmosphere, and superb wines on Thompson Hill.


#2 – Cable and Blue Bridges

Cable Bridge (background) Blue Bridge (foreground)
(Photo by Flickr User Lady_Fox)

A desert with a river? Sounds kind of odd, but that’s what the Tri-Cities has with the Columbia River. Any town or city with a river is going to need a way to cross it. Here’s a good trivia question for any local: Do you know the official names of the Blue Bridge and Cable Bridge? The Pioneer Memorial Bridge is the Blue Bridge and the Ed Hendler Bridge is the Cable Bridge. They serve as the connection between Kennewick and Pasco. The Blue Bridge was completed in 1954 and is one of the most traveled sections of roadway in all of the Tri-Cities. Recently, and over the past couple of years, there has been a significant change to the Kennewick side of the bridge to make access onto and off of the bridge better and safer for drivers. Don’t you just love roundabouts? The Cable Bridge’s official name came from Ed Hendler, a Pasco native and former mayor, who headed up the committee responsible for obtaining the funding for construction of the bridge in 1978. At the Kennewick side of the bridge is the Tri-Cities Vietnam Memorial which salutes our areas fallen heroes. It has also become home to the Lampson Cable Bridge 10k run, a fun local foot race that thousands take part in every year whether rain, usually snow or…the rare sunshine.


#1 – Hanford’s B-Reactor

B-Reactor, Hanford
(Photo by Photobucket User Columbia_Riverkeeper)

The world’s first industrial-scale nuclear reactor was built in Hanford, Washington in 1943 during World War II and served as part of the Manhattan Project, developing the atomic bomb. One of three plutonium production reactors built in total secrecy at Hanford during World War II, B Reactor produced plutonium for the Trinity test at Alamagordo, New Mexico and for the atomic bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan in 1945.  B Reactor is now in “interim safe storage” status.  The United States Department of Energy offers public tours on set dates during the spring, summer, and fall of the year, as well as special tours for visiting officials. Unsurprisingly, these tours fill up quickly and have already been filled for 2011. The B Reactor was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1992, and was named a National Historic Landmark in 2008.

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