Thursday, October 13, 2011

Home on the Railroad, Benton City

Home on old railroad grade with rail bridge over Yakima River, Benton City, Washington 

I spotted this house located on the old rail grade across the Yakima River from Benton City. The rail line was originally built by the North Coast Railroad from Kennewick to Yakima in approximately 1900. A variety of folks with funding from the east built rail spurs that would connect to the big cross county lines. Part of the schemes were also to plat communities along the rail routes and develop the areas along the rail lines so that rail would sell property and then the properties would produce rail customers.

The North Coast Railroad was taken over by the Oregon and Washington Railroad and Navigation Company in 1909. This company appeared to be a merger of a number of linked spur rails with backing by the Union Pacific. The Union Pacific controlled this particular line since 1910. The rail line has been abandoned for many years, replaced by a line that follows a different route from Kennewick to Yakima not far to the south of this line. In recent years the railroad properties along this abandoned stretch of rail have been sold off - including the home site above as well as a parcel that crossed Washington State Department of Natural Resources managed land.

I am not sure of the condition of the bridge next to the home; however, the elevated rail grade provides a place well above flood waters on the Yakima River.

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