Did the Boat Race Craze Start On the Snake River in Pasco During the 1940s?
In 1943, during World War II, the government launched the top-secret Manhattan Project and seized the town of White Bluffs and the land surrounding it for many miles.
Over 1500 residents were put on notice to vacate their homes and businesses – many were only allowed 3 days to gather up their belongings before the government came in and leveled their homes, businesses, and area fields – then burned them. All of this was to make way for the construction of a plutonium production plant.
The area that we know as the Hanford site was ideal for the project because it was considered a remote area, it was close to railways and had access to plenty of water from the Columbia River to keep the Reactors cool. The photo below is what the area looked like before construction.
Thousands of skilled workers were hired not knowing any of the details of the project. In fact, not even local and state officials were aware of the function of the site. The government built hundreds of homes and buildings and Richland was born with nearly 18,000 new residents. In total, over 50,000 construction workers were hired – all completely in the dark about what they were building.
What did the Workers do when they weren’t on the job?
They played baseball, danced, and had potlucks, and post-war they even attended boat races at Sacajawea State Park in Pasco. Little did they know, that hydroplanes would continue to be a huge part of our way of life in the Tri-Cities.
LOOK: The oldest cities in America
LOOK: What major laws were passed the year you were born?