Basin City is a census-designated place (CDP) in Franklin County, Washington, United States. The population was 968 at the 2000 census.

History Edit

The town of Basin City was laid out in the 1950s on land owned by dry-land farmer Loen Bailie. The town was established to support the local agricultural community which was being opened to irrigation through the Columbia Basin Project. The new settlers to the area consisted primarily of young farmers from Idaho and Southwestern Oregon and World War II Veterans, who received preferential status on the purchase of federal lands that were sold as part of the Project. Early crops included sugar beets, alfalfa, corn, asparagus, wheat and barley. Later, potatoes, beans, carrots, and onions also became important, while sugar beet production stopped due to closure of a local sugar beet plant. A large number of orchards were planted and the area is now a major supplier of the famous Washington Apples. Cherries and other fruits are also produced locally.

Geography Edit

Basin City is located at 46°35′29″N 119°8′58″W (46.591416, -119.149325). As the name implies, it lies in a basin. The land west of the town slopes gradually downward for about 2 miles then rises abruptly by about 300 feet (100 m) at Basin Hill. Basin Hill extends about 5–6 miles southwest of town to the Columbia River, where it forms the southern extent of the "White Bluffs" for which the town of White Bluffs was named. It also extends 5–6 miles to the north, where it is called Sage Hill and then rises a bit higher at Radar Hill, named for an old World War II Radar base installed at the peak. A little further to the northwest lie the Saddle Mountains. The tallest peak visible from Basin City is Rattlesnake Mountain about 25 miles to the southwest on the opposite side of the Columbia River. However, from the top of nearby Basin Hill it is possible to see Mount Rainier, which lies approximately 125 miles to the West in the Cascade Mountains. A small lake, called Bailie's Lake, formed by irrigation runoff lies to the northwest of town and provides opportunities for fishing and hunting.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 3.2 square miles (8.3 km²), all of it land. Although the CDP itself is quite small, it serves as the heart of a much larger agricultural community extending for miles in all directions.