Back to Finding Aids
Washington State University Libraries
Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections
Pullman, WA 99164-5610 USA
(509) 335-6691
Inquiries

PC 104
Hanford, White Bluffs, and Hanford Nuclear Site Images
1900-1980 ca. (bulk 1909-1945)

ACQUISITION AND PROCESSING INFORMATION

The collection is of unknown provenance and contains an eclectic assortment of historic images both of the Hanford area before the creation of the Hanford Nuclear Site in 1943, during the wartime construction, and into the Cold War expansion of Hanford facilities. Carol Lichtenberg performed preliminary processing of the collection in the 1980s and Susan Vetter completed it in 2010.

EXTENT/QUANTITY INFORMATION

Number of Containers: 1
Linear feet of shelf space: 0.5
Number of Items: 175

DESCRIPTION

This small photographic collection includes images from the area of the Hanford Site in south-central Washington with views of Native Americans, of life in the towns of Hanford, White Bluffs, and the surrounding area from the early 20th century, and of the Second World War construction and Cold War nuclear facilities at Hanford. The few Native American images document fishing practices and some prehistoric archaeological sites. The pre-Hanford Site Euro-American images reveal the often untold story of 20th century homesteading, the process of town founding, and the sometimes grandiose visions of those early residents about the returns their back-breaking labor could produce. Turn-of-the-century irrigation plans called for a million acres, the same figure promised at mid-century by Columbia Basin Plan advocates after the construction of Grand Coulee Dam, and one still not reached in the 21st century to the chagrin of many Tri-Cities boosters.

Many of the images from before the 1943 creation of the nuclear site appear in histories of the area, especially Martha Berry Parker's Tales of Richland, White Bluffs & Hanford 1805-1943: Before the Atomic Reserve (Fairfield, Wash.: Ye Galleon Press, 1979). A few of the Hanford Site images can be found in Michele Stenehjem Gerber's Legend and Legacy: Fifty Years of Defense Production at the Hanford Site (Richland, Wash.: Westinghouse Hanford Company, 1992) and her On the Home Front: The Cold War Legacy of the Hanford Nuclear Site, 2nd ed. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2002).

The secrecy associated with the Hanford Site restricted public circulation of area images for decades until the Department of Energy (DOE) began releasing documents in the 1980s. After those documents exposed decades of radioactive releases and contamination, state and federal investigations resulted in the availability of more Hanford historical documents. In 1994 the Richland office of the Department of Energy initiated the Hanford Declassification Project (HDP) to make public as much previously classified operations information (documents and photographs) as possible through the Hanford Declassified Document Retrieval System (DDRS). Albeit DDRS is not tailored to image searches, the Richland office of the DOE also maintains a Web site under its Newsroom page called "Photo Gallery" for image-specific searches: http://www.hanford.gov/c.cfm/photogallery

Here many of the early Hanford images in this collection are accessible. The Photo Gallery includes historical images predating the Hanford Nuclear Site as well as those documenting the creation, expansion and current cleanup efforts, although the pre-Hanford Site and current cleanup images predominate. The Container List below includes the Document Numbers from the Photo Gallery when images in this collection were located. Many of the images from before creation of the Hanford Nuclear Site are also found in the Parker volume and those are noted as well. For some images, the Document Number from the Hanford Declassified Document Retrieval System is recorded. The Photo Gallery Document Numbers and DDRS Document Numbers do not coincide.

While many of the pre-World War II and wartime images here can be found on the Department of Energy sites, the Cold War images are less accessible. This collection contains images of various sections of the Hanford Site such as the 300 Area, the Fast Flux Test Facility, and "tank farms" for radioactive waste disposal. Though the dates of most are unknown, these images document the Cold War expansion of Hanford that resulted in its current status as the "world's largest environmental cleanup" (Department of Energy).

ARRANGEMENT

Preliminary processing organized photographs into labeled folders and, in some cases, into labeled negative sleeves. Because the collection's provenance and thus original order is unknown, final processing approached the collection as a subject file on what is now the Hanford Site. When the preliminary processing folder labels/sleeves contained the only information available about the contents, they were retained. When searches located the images with identifications differing from the folder label then those identifications were used and the folder/image label was corrected.

The collection is arranged in four series by subject matter and date and a fifth miscellaneous series. Thus, those images associated with Native Americans living in the Hanford area from pre-contact to the modern era compose the first series and include photocopies from unidentified works as well as images of prehistoric archaeological sites.

The Euro-American settlement era that preceded the Hanford Nuclear Site with images of both people and activities constitutes the second series. Photocopies from publications of the time period appear here.

In the third series, wartime construction of what was then known as "Hanford Engineer Works" (HEW) takes center stage. All those who lived in the small towns of Hanford and White Bluffs were forced to move in the spring of 1943 and in two years the Manhattan District of the Army Corps of Engineers (MED) built the massive Hanford plutonium production complex and the government-owned town of Richland employing a work force that reached 51,000, most living in temporary housing. By August 1945, Hanford-produced plutonium for the Fat Man Bomb detonated over Nagasaki, Japan. Many of the wartime images are identified by the "D" numbers used by MED to designate areas condemned when HEW was created.

The next series aggregates images from the Cold War era when expansion at Hanford continued. Images document both nuclear facilities as well as the remnants of features from pre-war activities.

The final series catches miscellaneous images whose time context as Second World War or Cold War Hanford Site is unclear and any unidentified items.

RELATED MATERIALS

In 1994 the Richland office of the Department of Energy initiated the Hanford Declassification Project (HDP) to make available as much previously classified Hanford operations information (documents and photographs) as possible. The declassified information is scanned and the images made available directly through the Hanford Declassified Document Retrieval System (DDRS) Web site: http://www2.hanford.gov/declass/

In addition to DDRS, the DOE also maintains the DOE Digital Photo Archive for the retrieval of images from DOE facilities such as Hanford, but in early 2010 the site contains no Hanford images before 1960: http://www.doedigitalarchive.doe.gov

The Tri-City Herald newspaper makes available many DOE-released photographs as well as others through its online galleries. These include many wartime images of the Hanford Nuclear Site including 60 images in a gallery called "Gallery: Hanford Work in 1944" and another 50 images as "Gallery: Life at Hanford in 1944"and then hundreds of Cold War era photos: http://www.tri-cityherald.com/coldwarhanford/

ACCESS

The collection is open to researchers. Copyright restrictions may apply.

PREFERRED CITATION

The suggested citation for the collection is:

[Item Description]
Hanford, White Bluffs, and Hanford Nuclear Site Images (PC 104)
Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections
Washington State University Libraries
Pullman, WA

CONTAINER LIST

FolderDescriptionDate
Series 1: Native Americans.
1Indian Drying Fish - White Bluffs. Numbered 98-042 and 85202-2. Image numbers produced no PG or DDRS matches.undated
2Fishing Platforms, Yakima River, Horn Rapids Dam. Single Fish platform at Horn Rapids. DDRS 682285-11.1978
2Fishing Platforms, Yakima River, Horn Rapids Dam. Horn Rapids (?) with at least 10 fishing platforms. Photos labeled 36419-53 produced no PG or DDRS matches.undated
3Rock art on Hanford Reservation, Hunter-gatherer assemblages, pit houses. Photos by Jason Hare. Unlabeled slides documenting archaeological sites. Jason Hare had an internship with Hanford in 1992.1992?
4Photocopies of Native Americans at Hanford-White Bluffs area. Unidentified source for copies. 1 is labeled "Johnny Buck d. 1952 last of Wanapums.". Some numbered but produce no matches on DDRS or PG.undated
5Photocopies of early hunter gatherers along the Columbia River, near White Bluffs (from original sketches?). Line drawings. Source not identified.undated
Series 2: Pre-1943 Hanford Area.
6Hanford and White Bluffs High School Sports. White Bluffs Baseball Team 1908. Front Row: Jimmie Sells. Middle Row: Mr. Wiehl, Matt Wiehl, Eula Byrd. Back Row: unidentified, unidentified, unidentified, unidentified, Harry Hoffman. PG 79190-7.1908
6Hanford and White Bluffs High School Sports. White Bluffs High School Basketball Team 1924. Left to Right: John McFee, Bob Sutherland, Russ Brown, Heg Swanson, Winston Brown, Alvin Barge. PG 79190-11.1924
6Hanford and White Bluffs High School Sports. Two Hanford High School Baseball Players. PG 79190-18.1925 ca.
6Hanford and White Bluffs High School Sports. Two Hanford High School Girls Baseball Players. PG 79190-24.1925 ca.
7Planting Grass, Hanford, 1911. Asparagus Planting at Ballygreen Farm, White Bluffs. PG 79190-13.1911
8Main Street, White Bluffs 1922. Picture of Main Street White Bluffs looking east towards the river. The Commercial Hotel (former Oasis Saloon), on the left, and the Leggett Mercantile Store, on the right were moved from East White Bluffs (Old Town White Bluffs). PG 03080006-003df.1922
9E.E. Meeker well near Hanford, Wash. Photo label on print is "E.E. Meeker Well near Hanford, Wash. Drilled by Coal Creek Drilling & Development Co.". PG 74155-8.1931
10Agriculture, pre-Hanford Reservation. Vineyard & Orchard, White Bluffs. The orchard in the distance is recently planted. PG 79190-5.1914
10Agriculture, pre-Hanford Reservation. C.I. "Irvy" Wright with Hay Sled. PG 76783-2.1922
10Agriculture, pre-Hanford Reservation. Messrs. Young and Thumm at their Riverby Ranch on the east side of the Columbia from White Bluffs. Corn was one of the crops they raised. PG 74155-3.1931
11Agriculture, pre-Hanford Reservation, orchards, spraying. Horse-drawn sprayer for fruit orchards. Parker caption: "The first spray rig in the Priest Rapids Valley, owned by GusBurford [sic] in 1915. It was horse-drawn and was operated by a gas motor. It was made by the Bean Company.". Parker (182).1915
11Agriculture, pre-Hanford Reservation, orchards, spraying. Spraying Fruit Trees. PC 76719-4, 76719-6, 76719-7 but 76719-8 not on PG.1932
11Agriculture, pre-Hanford Reservation, orchards, spraying. Unidentified Man with Fruit Tree. PC 76719-3.1932
12White Bluffs, Washington, Band. White Bluffs Band. PG 79113-8.1930
13Early Homes, Hanford area. 2 Hanford homes Parker: "Two gracious Hanford homes bring back nostalgic memories of the early 1900's. The house on the right is the old Haynes home later known as the Larsen home.". Parker (88).early 1900s
13Early Homes, Hanford area. House. PG 79190-19.1920
13Early Homes, Hanford area. House. PG 79190-17.1930
13Early Homes, Hanford area. House. PG 79190-15.1930
14Early Homes, East White Bluffs and White Bluffs. Matt Wiehl Home, East White Bluffs (Old Town White Bluffs). PG 79231-11.1915
14Early Homes, East White Bluffs and White Bluffs. Farm House and Windmill, East White Bluffs (Old Town White Bluffs). PG 79231-2.1920
14Early Homes, East White Bluffs and White Bluffs. House, White Bluffs. PG 79231-10.1940
15White Bluffs Inn (w/ car). White Bluffs Inn (Old Town White Bluffs). PG 88091335-11.1911
16Steam Train Engine. Parker identifies this as "Sagebrush Annie," which ran on a spur into Priest Rapids Valley that started at Beverly and ended below Hanford. First train in valley in 1913. 111655-19 not on PG Parker (164).after 1913
17Homesteaders at Hanford c. 1908-1913. "Bales of Alfalfa, Washington" on image. 76573-9 not on PG.undated
17Homesteaders, Hanford Area 1907-1913 ca. Land Clearing at East White Bluffs. Helsom homestead beyond. PG 79190-14 Parker (52).1907
17Homesteaders, Hanford Area 1907-1913 ca. Ocheltree Homestead, Richland. G.P. Calley residence in the background on the Von Horn place. PG 111655-14.1910
17Homesteaders, Hanford Area 1907-1913 ca. Frank Hensley's Red Apple Ranch, White Bluffs. This ranch was located between Hanford and White Bluffs. PG 79113-5 Parker (169).1913
17Homesteaders, Hanford Area 1907-1913 ca. Log cabin. 76573-4 not on PG.undated
18River boats. "Twin Cities" Riverboat at Hanford Landing. PG 111655-2.1910
18River boats. Unidentified river boats at landing. 76783-1 not on PG.1910 ca.
19White Bluffs Ferry. White Bluffs Horse-powered Ferry. PG 69547-4.1909
20Old Town (East) White Bluffs. Old Town White Bluffs as seen from the Columbia. White Bluffs Inn is in center back with the Presbyterian Church and grade school to the right. Approximate date of picture is 1913. PG 86746-10.1913 ca.
21White Bluffs, Wash., Main Street. Street scene Note: White Bluffs was relocated from east of the Columbia River to the west side in 1907. This new location of White Bluffs soon became known as East White Bluffs or Old Town White Bluffs when White Bluffs was moved to higher ground in the 1910s. 76646-2 not on PG but appears in Parker (186).1918
22Hanford, Wash. George McConnachie's "Cash Store" (general merchandise). 79113-1 not on PG but appears in Parker (219).undated
22Hanford, Wash., town scenes. street scene with water tower seen in Planters Hotel images. undated
22Hanford, Wash., town scenes. Main business street of Hanford. Fenced city park in foreground. Hanford Cafe awning in center. Parker (148).1910
23Hanford, Wash., town scenes showing Planters Hotel. Looking up to the town and Planters Hotel from Columbia R. Parker (140): "The new town of Hanford taken from the top deck of a riverboat. Planters Hotel in center, Columbia Hotel to the left. Incoming freight is visible in the foreground.". Parker (140) Note that PG 79113-4 labels as Planters Hotel 1932 but other images place this image right after construction of hotel.1907 ca.
23Hanford, Wash., town scenes showing Planters Hotel. Planters Hotel Parker has this picture with date and notes hotel torn down in 1939. 76783-5 not on PG. Parker (140).1907 ca.
23Hanford, Wash., town scenes showing Planters Hotel. Community of Hanford as seen from the Riverboat with Planters Hotel. PG 111655-20.1910 ca.
24White Bluffs Bank. White Bluffs Bank Parker identifies this as the White Bluffs Bank built in 1907 and states that shell of building still stands on Hanford Reservation. 69547-3 not on PG Parker (62).[1907-early 1940s]
25Blacksmith Shop, White Bluffs, Wash. (east side of river). Images and photocopy from unknown source of this 1850s era log structure on east bank of Columbia River at White Bluffs ferry. Identified as associated with the military depot camp there at time of Yakima War. Parker identifies photo date. 111655-4 not on PG. Parker (14).1937
26Sawmill. Sawmill on River. Used logs washed downstream by the river. PG 79190-12 Parker (50).1907
27Early schoolhouses. Parker identifies as first school house in Priest Rapids Valley after flood of 1894. May be same school house as below. Parker (35).1890s ca.
27Early schoolhouses. First School House in Benton County. It was built at White Bluffs in 1890 from logs salvaged from the Columbia River. Note: White Bluffs on east side of Columbia at this time. PG 03080006-032df.1936
28Richland, Wash. Street Scene at Richland, Wash., Columbia Ave. (now George Washington Way). Parker identifies buildings. 76518-13 not on PG. Parker (152).1909
28Richland, Wash. Main Street, Richland, 1910. Picture taken looking north down George Washington Way. The "Big Red Apple" real estate office is the white sided building at the far end of the street. PG 76573-13.1910
28Richland, Wash. Orchard in Richland. Postcard showing one year old orchard in the Highland of Richland, Washington. PG 76573-15.1910
28Richland, Wash. Richland Transfer & Storage horse-drawn wagon hauling boxes for Yakima Valley Growers Association. 76702-3 not on PG. Parker (216).undated
28Richland, Wash. Hotel Richland. Parker (46).1919
28Richland, Wash. City Dray - Richland Transfer. PG 65881-1.1921
28Richland, Wash. Aerial view of Richland (700 Area) before Hanford Engineering Works. 47723 not on PG.1940 ca.
29Unidentified farm scene. Ranch hands, one holding baby. Not on PG or in Parker.undated
30White Bluffs-Hanford Land Settlement Project (Soldier Settlement). Floor plans of settlement houses and photographs. Part of state land settlement program. 76646-7 not on PG.1920s ca.
31Equipment. PG identifies as County Road Maintenance Equipment, 1932 Parker identifies as 1910 with Holt 75 tractor on its way to Richland from freight depots. PG 76573-14 Parker (146).1932 or 1910
32Hanford Ferry. "Doris" - Hanford Ferry. PG 87373-7.1935
33Photocopied articles - The Beginnings of Yakima County. Splawn, A.J. "Beginnings of Yakima County." The Coast: an Illustrated Monthly of the West 17.1 (Jan. 1909): 3-6. 1909
33Photocopied articles - The Beginnings of Yakima County. Editorial. "Yakima County, Washington." The Coast: an Illustrated Monthly of the West 17.1 (Jan. 1909): 84. 1909
Series 3: Second World War.
34White Bluffs Train Depot. D 8530 designation is a Manhattan District of the Army Corps of Engineers (MED) Manhattan Engineer District Condemnation no. ca. 1943
35Original Christian Church at Hanford. D 226 Original Christian Church at Hanford. Community Hall on right, formerly grade school. ca. 1943
36Hanford Irrigation Project Power House. D-454 Power House. H.I.P. Co. is Hanford Irrigation and Power Co. 76518-12 not on PG.1943
37Man Studying Indian Artifacts. Man (w/ MED?) at a desk holding prehistoric axe with another on table along with chipped stone tools. DDRS D-274-NEG.ca. 1943
38Hanford, Washington, Street Scene. D230 Camp Hanford w/ original McConnachie Bldgs. on right, across from town park. [See folder 22]. ca. 1943
39Markers showing the subdivision of Hanford, Oct. 12 and 14, 1943, by the Army. D designations by MED (D 10, 13-24) for areas in newly created Hanford Engineering Works. 1943 Oct. 12 1943 Oct. 14
40Hanford High School. D-228 high school was built in 1916. 1943 ca.
41Initial ferry at White Bluffs, WA. Built by Army Corps of Engineers 1944 ca. Identification based on folder label only. 85677-5 not on PG.1944 ca.
42Miscellaneous WWII-era HEW. Hanford Theater. 53611-13 not on PG.1944 ca.
42Miscellaneous WWII-era HEW. HEW workers in cafeteria at Hanford Construction Camp. Gerber identifies photo. Gerber 1992 (8).1944 ca.
42Miscellaneous WWII-era HEW. Day's Pay - B-17 bomber paid for by HEW workers donating a day's pay. Dedication July 1944. Gerber identifies photo. DDRS D-128-NEG Gerber 1992 (16).1944
42Miscellaneous WWII-era HEW. Bank for HEW Workers. Identified from Tri-City Herald photo gallery. 1944
42Miscellaneous WWII-era HEW. People waiting in line to see "South of the Border," a Gene Autry 1939 film. undated
42Miscellaneous WWII-era HEW. Front page of The Villager (Richland, Wash.) the day the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and that President Truman announced HEW's involvement in production. 1945 Aug.6
Series 4 - Post World War II.
43Hanford Site, Cold War Era Housing. Aerial images of housing construction. late 1940s-1950s
43Hanford Site, Cold War Era Housing. Trailer home for construction worker families in North Richland. Gerber identifies photo. Gerber 1992 (24).1947
44Hanford Site, Cold War Era. Various images of facilities and operations at the Hanford Site through the decades of the Cold War. late 1940s-1980s
45Hanford Site, Cold War Era. View of former White Bluffs, Wash., on Hanford Site. Identification from folder label. 90244-1 not on PG.1965 ca.?
46Hanford Site, Homesteader's Shack (100D or F area, north tip of Hanford). Identification from folder label. Reactors in background. undated
47Hanford Site, Hanford High School. Shell of Hanford H.S. standing for 1980 reunion (?). 111655-7 not on PG.1980?
48White Bluffs-Hanford 37th Annual Reunion Album. Program from reunion in 1980 of the White Bluffs-Hanford Pioneers. 1980
49Unpublished Hanford-Site Related Documents. Cicotte, George I., David Dunham et al., "Rattlesnake Mountain Wind Farm: Draft Environmental Impact Statement," prepared by students in Environmental Science & Regional Planning 444/544 for Dr. Emmett B. Moore, Washington State University, Pullman, Wash., 1992 Nov. 12. 1992
49Unpublished Hanford-Site Related Manuscripts. "Findings of Records Search of Survey Area Between 100N and 100F Reactors," unpublished manuscript, n.d. Item appears to be a result of literature search and review of plats from towns of White Bluffs, East White Bluffs, and Hanford made by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1948 to determine the types of land use and extent of cultivation in those towns before the creation of Hanford Engineering Works in 1943. undated
Series 5: Miscellaneous.
50Hanford Site Images with no date. Images of Hanford Site either during World War II or in the early Cold War years: Hanford workers, and people on the site.
51Unidentified photocopies. No identification information other then E 58 on photo.

KEY

The list above includes information indicating when an image in this collection was identified using the hanford.gov Photo Gallery maintained by the Richland office of the DOE (see above), the Hanford Declassified Document Retrieval System (DDRS), or published works.
PG = hanford.gov "Photo Gallery"
DDRS = Hanford Declassified Document Retrieval System
Parker = Parker, Martha Berry. Tales of Richland, White Bluffs & Hanford 1805-1943: Before the Atomic Reserve. Fairfield, Wash.: Ye Galleon Press, 1979.
Gerber 1992 = Gerber, Michele Stenehjem. Legend and Legacy: Fifty Years of Defense Production at the Hanford Site. Richland, Wash.: Westinghouse Hanford Company, 1992.