Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Richland's alphabet soup houses

An A house today
Richland, Washington's alphabet houses were quickly constructed to house thousands of people working on the Manhattan Project during World War II.

The one- and two-story ranch style homes formed the nucleus of the community which grew out of the desert as people converged to construct the atomic bombs that were later dropped on Japan to end the war.

B house today
The community was quickly designed, with street construction starting in March 1943. The first house was completed a month later. Before construction started, Richland had only about 20 homes, hardly enough for the 16,000 people coming to work at Hanford.

Each house style was assigned a letter, with B being the most common, followed by A. Both were duplexes. Housing was assigned based on how many people were in a worker's family. Some houses had only one bedroom, others had three. Though almost all of the houses had chimneys, few had fireplaces. Instead the chimneys were used to vent from the coal and oil used to heat the homes, the local historical society says.

Dozens upon dozens of the houses exist today, just about everywhere you go in Richland. While the houses essentially all looked the same back then, today's owners have added decorative touches such as paint schemes, porches, window shutters and carports. As you drive around Richland, it is amazing to see the changes made by a little creativity.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Two PNW colleges among most beautiful campuses

Two Pacific Northwest colleges are on Travel + Leisure's list of the 30 most beautiful college campuses in the United States. The colleges, which originally were listed in a 2011 magazine article, were picked because of outstanding architectural features as well as natural beauty.

Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, made the list because of its park-like campus with "verdant forests, sweeping pathways and stone walls." The article notes that a tree walk is lined with native trees that early  explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark saw when they made their great journey from Missouri to the Pacific Ocean in the early 1800s.

Another Pacific Northwest college on the list is the University of Washington in Seattle. The article singled out the Gothic style Suzzallo Library because of its 35-foot high stained glass windows and vaulted 65-foot high vaulted ceilings. Also noteworthy are the 30 Yoshino cherry trees that bloom every spring in the Quad and the spectacular views of Mount Rainier from the Drumheller Fountain.