Like today, a mild climate and an abundant fish supply ensured that inhabitants thrived along the banks of the Columbia, Yakima, and Snake rivers. Evidence of the earliest known inhabitants in the Western Hemisphere were found in northern Franklin County at the Marmes Rockshelter, near Lyons Ferry and Palouse Falls.
In 1805, the Lewis and Clark Expedition camped at the confluence of the Columbia and Snake rivers in an area that 200 years later is called Sacagawea State Park in honor of their Native American guide. Little did they know the surrounding area would be called Pasco, today a bustling, thriving community of 73,590 people.
The Northern Pacific Railroad brought a rush of settlers to the Washington Territory, leading to statehood in 1889. The railroad town of Ainsworth was moved to Pasco in 1886 and brought with it the Franklin County seat. Pasco was incorporated on September 3, 1891, and was named by Virgil Bogue, an engineer for the railroad, after Cerro de Pasco in Peru.
Pasco grew to be a small but important railroad town in the years before World War II. The war brought the Manhattan Project, the United States' development of the atomic bomb, to the nearby Hanford Site. Pasco, along with the rest of the area, played an vital support role in that effort. Pasco was also home to Naval Air Station Pasco (the current Tri-Cities Airport) and the Pasco Engineer Depot (still called "Big Pasco" today). These wartime activities more than doubled the population in just months.
Post-war, Hanford played an important role in the area economy, and it continues through today in the cleanup effort. Additionally, the build out of irrigation, such as the Columbia Basin Project, made agriculture an even more critical part of the economy of Pasco and Franklin County.
Pasco’s growth is also energized by its location as a transportation hub. In the beginning, the city relied entirely on the river and rail for transportation, but has since matured into a genuine hub including surface, air, water, and rail; all modes moving agricultural goods, dry goods, technology, and other products to near and distant corners of the globe.
Population and Community Recognition
Pasco has experienced rapid residential growth in the 21st century, growing from a 2000 population of 32,066 to a 2018 population estimate of 73,590. This growth has occurred hand-in-hand with increasing quality of life, recognized by several independent groups and surveys:
Pasco was one of 20 communities in the nation considered for "All-America City" in 2018
Boasting good schools, health care facilities, faith communities, numerous retail/professional opportunities, recreational areas, and predominantly good weather, Pasco is a place where people put down roots and raise families in a safe, forward-thinking, active environment.
Pasco's Recreation Features
Pasco is a sports-minded community! Some of the amenities offered include:
15 miles of pathway overlooking the majestic Columbia River for bikers and hikers
20 soccer fields
24 public tennis courts
A 3.1-mile cross-country course dedicated for walkers, joggers, and runners
A 50-meter pool
A multipurpose outdoor stadium with state-of-the-art turf field and a 10-lane, all-weather running track capable of hosting state-level football and track events
A professional golf course to enjoy nearly year-round play
A professional indoor rodeo arena
A professional minor league baseball stadium
8 softball fields
7 baseball parks
Pasco is nestled among the Columbia, Yakima, and Snake rivers in southeastern Washington State. Average climate data:
Average high temperature: 66 Degrees
Average low temperature: 44 Degrees
Average rainfall: 6.5 inches per year
Average snowfall: 2.75 inches per year
Elevation: 407 feet above sea level
Growing season: 185 days per year
Sunshine: 300 days per year
For more information on the many opportunities in Pasco to live, work and play, visit: