THE WASHINGTON STATE
Founded In 1990
We are located in Pasco, Washington where the Columbia
and Snake Rivers merge.
The history of Pasco begins with the establishment of the
Northern Pacific Railway
settlement of Ainsworth in 1879.
Ainsworth was named for J. C. Ainsworth, President of the
Oregon Steam & Navigation Company. It was located near
the mouth of the Snake River and
constructed by the Northern
Pacific for itís workers on the Snake River Bridge Project.
In 1883, Franklin County was created by separating it from
Whitman County, and Ainsworth became the county seat.
The Snake River Bridge was completed in 1884, and
with the bridge
completed Ainsworth quickly declined
when the Northern Pacific moved itís round-house &
shops a few miles up the Columbia River.
The townsite of Pasco was established as a Northern Pacific
station on November 28, 1884, and construction on the
Columbia River Bridge was begun at Pasco in July of 1887.
The Franklin County Courthouse was then moved from
Ainsworth to Pasco in 1887.
Pasco owes itís name to V. C. Bogue, a construction engineer
for the Northern Pacific
Railroad, who had successfully
constructed a railway across the Andes Mountains in
America. The highest point on that railway was a mining
town named Cerro de Pasco, noted for being a windy and
dusty place. Mr. Bogue was reminded of that place in the Andes
so much that he named the new Northern Pacific townsite
With the completion of the Columbia River Bridge the Northern Pacific
Railroad built its first depot at Pasco in the 1890s.
A second depot was built nearer the river on 4th Ave. in 1900,
and the first depot became the freight depot.
In 1936 a third depot was built near the site of the first depot
and both the first and second depots were torn down.
In May of 1997 The Washington State Railroads Historical Society opened
its first Museum to the public at 122 N. Tacoma Ave. in Pasco, Washington.
In 1998 a new and forth depot was opened at the North end of Tacoma Ave.
The third depot was abandon by Amtrak 1998, and Burlington Northern
Santa Fe Co. still owns it.
Pasco served as a major rail hub for the Northern Pacific & SP&S
Railways, and on June 21, 1955 Northern Pacific Railway
built its first "pushbutton" hump-yards at Pasco and to this day
Pasco remains a major hub for the BNSF.
The WSRHS is dedicated to preserving the history of "All"
the railroads that helped build the State of Washington.
From the Great Northern Railway, Milwaukee Road,to the
Northern Pacific, Union Pacific, SP&S Railway
all the railroads in between. To this end the WSRHS is:
"Dedicated To Preserving The History Of Railroads
And Railroading In The
State Of Washington."
The Society's Introduction, Mission and Goals.
History of the WSRHS.
Membership application Join us.
Questions and Comments to The WSRHS: E-Mail Here
All Written Correspondence May Be Mailed To:
PO. BOX 552
Pasco, Washington 99301
All Names & Addresses Of Members Or Persons Seeking Information
"Are Confidential & Will Not Be Given Out."
Return to the Museum.