Welcome to Benton County!

All of the data, photos, and images have been contributed by researchers like yourself and posted by the county coordinator. Contributions are greatly appreciated.

A Brief History


Benton County is a county located in the south-central portion of Washington state near the junction of the Mighty Columbia, Snake, and Yakima rivers. In fact, the Columbia River makes up the north, south, and east boundaries of the county.

The county was created out of Klickitat County and Yakima County on March 8, 1905, and the US Census Bureau reported 175,177 residents in 2010.

Though the land was originally dry and supported much sagebrush, it now produces farm crops due to irrigation that began in the 1890s with water from the Columbia. The crops include wheat, alfalfa, potatoes, and many others.

During WWII, the federal government created a secret plant at Hanford within the county in order to develop plutonium for the atomic bomb.

Today, the county's two main industries are nuclear power and agriculture. Additionally, wineries are becoming very popular in the area and attract tourists as well.

The county seat is the city of Prosser, and the largest city is Kennewick. Other major cities include Richland, West Richland, and Benton City.

The county was named after Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton.

About Us

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Washington GenWeb is part of the USGenWeb Project. The Project is managed by a team of volunteers with the goal of providing free access to genealogical and historical information pertaining to all counties in every state of the USA.

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Benton County GenWeb is part of the WAGenWeb Project. To access information for the other counties in Washington State, please see the WAGenWeb page.