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About Prosser

Prosser is a city in and the county seat of Benton County, Washington, United States, along the Yakima River with only one zip code 99350. The population was 4,838 at the 2000 census.

History

Prosser was long home to Native Americans who lived and fished along the river. They called the area "Tap tut", meaning rapids.

Colonel William Farrand Prosser first surveyed the area in 1879, then claimed homestead in 1882. The Northern Pacific Railroad laid tracks through the area two years later. A town plat was filed by Colonel Prosser in 1885, and in 1886 he was elected Yakima County Auditor. He moved to North Yakima to attend to these duties, and never returned to the town that he founded.

Lewis Hinzerling built a flour mill at Prosser falls in 1887, encouraging further settlement of the area. The first irrigation canal was completed in 1893 by the Prosser Falls Land and Irrigation Company. Prosser was officially incorporated in 1899 with a population of 229 people.

In 1905, Benton County was carved out of the eastern portions of Yakima and Klickitat Counties. The new town of Prosser was chosen as county seat. In 1907 a power plant was added and began delivering electricity to the town. The following year, a new high school was built, followed a year later by a telephone exchange. In 1910 the city received a grant from the Andrew Carnegie for a public library.

Throughout the 1910s and 1920s various companies drilled in this area for oil and natural gas. There were no large findings and the Great Depression put an end to exploration.

On November 5, 1912, Benton County voters held a referendum to move the county seat from Prosser to either Kennewick or Benton City. Intense rivalry and war of words between Benton City, Kennewick, and Prosser preceded the vote. Despite getting a majority of the vote, Kennewick did not receive 60 percent of the vote as required by law. To date, Prosser retains the county seat.

In 1919, Washington State College (later WSU) established the Irrigation Experiment Station at Prosser. The program's mandate is to study the problems faced by farmers, orchardists, and ranchers in the dry central part of the state. The station originally employed scientists from the college in Pullman, who partnered with scientists from the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The station is still currently in use, and offers a number of agricultural education programs.

Prosser at one point boasted three newspapers, which were consolidated in the 1920s into the Prosser Record-Bulletin, and a permanent courthouse was built in 1926. The Benton County Historical Museum was dedicated in 1968.

In more recent years, Prosser's prime location on a major river (the Yakima) and easy highway access has encouraged a growing wine business and associated tourist industry. Several wineries within the Yakima Valley appellation call Prosser home.

Annual events

Geography

Prosser is located in the Eastern end of the Yakima Valley at 46°12′25″N 119°45′56″W / 46.20694°N 119.76556°W / 46.20694; -119.76556 (46.206921, -119.765612). It is 665 ft above sea level. One river, the Yakima River, runs through it.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.4 square miles (11.5 km²), of which, 4.3 square miles (11.1 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km²) of it (2.93%) is water.

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 4,838 people 1,697 households, and 1,240 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,125.1 people per square mile (434.4/km²). There were 1,800 housing units at an average density of 418.6/sq mi (161.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 79.89% White, 0.54% African American, 0.91% Native American, 0.76% Asian, 0.29% Pacific Islander, 15.11% from other races, and 2.50% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 29.37% of the population. Ancestries: German (17.3%), English (10.8%), Irish (9.3%), United States (6.8%), Norwegian (4.3%), French (4.2%), 12.5% Foreign born (99.1% Mexican).

There were 1,697 households out of which 41.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.2% were married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.9% were non-families. 24.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.83 and the average family size was 3.38.

In the city the population was spread out with 32.5% under the age of 18, 9.6% from 18 to 24, 26.0% from 25 to 44, 19.5% from 45 to 64, and 12.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 91.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.8 males.

The median age is 32 years old. The median house value was $98,500 (2000). The median income for a household in the city was $39,185, and the median income for a family was $45,162. Males had a median income of $36,750 versus $26,146 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,302. About 11.5% of families and 13.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.1% of those under age 18 and 2.6% of those age 65 or over.

For population 15 years and over in Prosser city

For population 20 years and over in Prosser:

Economy

The economy of Prosser is based on agriculture. In addition to fruit orchards and fruit packing plants, Prosser is an important center of wine making in the Yakima Valley American Viticultural Area.

Schools

Wine

Prosser now has nearly 40 wineries in an area about ten-by-ten miles, as well as being home to the WSU extension office that had proven the soils of Washington was suitible for growing wine grapes.

Crime

Crime statistics provided are from 2001, 2002, and 2003. There were 0 murders, 1 rape and only 2 robberies in this time frame. An average of 3 assaults , 31 burglaries, 151 larceny counts, and 9 auto thefts per year. City-data.com crime index average for 3 years is 203.66 per 100,000. The US average is 329.7. Lower is better.

Major highways and closest cities

Citizens of note

See also


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