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Prosser, Washington facts for kids

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Benton County court house in Prosser
Benton County court house in Prosser
Location of Prosser, Washington
Location of Prosser, Washington
Country United States
State Washington
County Benton
 • Type Mayor–council
 • Total 4.79 sq mi (12.39 km2)
 • Land 4.66 sq mi (12.06 km2)
 • Water 0.13 sq mi (0.33 km2)
666 ft (203 m)
 • Total 5,714
 • Estimate 
 • Density 1,369.98/sq mi (528.96/km2)
Time zone UTC-8 (Pacific (PST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP code
Area code 509
FIPS code 53-56450
GNIS feature ID 1512582

Prosser is a city in and the county seat of Benton County, Washington, United States. Situated along the Yakima River, it had a population of 5,714 at the 2010 census.


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 remains 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 had 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 location on a major river (the Yakima) and highway access has encouraged a growing wine business and associated tourist industry. Several Prosser wineries are located within the Yakima Valley appellation.

Annual events

  • Prosser Community Awards Banquet In January the community honors hard working citizens and volunteers.
  • Red Wine & Chocolate
  • Sweet Retreat 2nd Saturday in March the Columbia Valley Winery Association hosts the pairing of sweet wine with food.
  • Spring Barrel Tasting In April various wineries offer tasting.
  • Wine Country Spring Fair In May on Mother's Day weekend arts and crafts in the park.
  • Farmers Market Usually starts in May sometime and runs every weekend through harvest.
  • The Dash Race for the Kids Early June after school lets out we have a bicycle competition a 62-mile "Metric Century" and youth fun run. Wine tasting after for the adults.
  • Kestrel Festival Sponsored by Kestrel Wines. This takes place in June each year.
  • Old Fashioned 4 July 4 July Weekend, includes a kiddie parade, car show, fireworks, bingo, stage shows, and food vendors in the park.
  • Art Walk and Wine Gala Wine tasting event in the middle of July.
  • A Night Out Beginning of September. Fundraising benefit of food and fun for the Prosser Memorial Foundation.
  • Prosser State's Day Celebration Another one of the top events of the year. On Labor Day. There is a carnival in the city park, and a parade in the morning. Miss Prosser is crowned.
  • The Great Prosser Balloon Rally The last of the top events. On September 23, 24, & 25th 2016, Hot air balloons are scheduled to launch just after dawn from the Prosser airport. Balloons glow from within at Art Fiker Stadium during The Great Prosser Balloon Rally Night Glow show.
  • Annual Harvest Festival Same weekend as the Balloon Rally. Arts and crafts downtown with fun and food.
  • Annual Caren Mercer-Andreason Street Painting Festival Same weekend as the Prosser Balloon Rally and Harvest Festival. Watch local and regional artists create works of art on the pavement in downtown Prosser.
  • Thanksgiving in Wine Country Sunday after Thanksgiving. Sample all the newly released wines.
  • Family Christmas Festival The annual lighting of the Christmas tree takes place with carolers and holiday music.


Prosser is located near 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 4.53 square miles (11.73 km2), of which, 4.49 square miles (11.63 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) is water.


Prosser experiences a semi-arid climate (Köppen BSk).

Climate data for Prosser (1971−2000)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 41.0
Daily mean °F (°C) 33.1
Average low °F (°C) 25.1
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.96
Source: NOAA (normals, 1971−2000)


Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 229
1910 1,298 466.8%
1920 1,697 30.7%
1930 1,569 −7.5%
1940 1,719 9.6%
1950 2,636 53.3%
1960 2,763 4.8%
1970 2,954 6.9%
1980 3,896 31.9%
1990 4,476 14.9%
2000 4,838 8.1%
2010 5,714 18.1%
2019 (est.) 6,380 11.7%
U.S. Decennial Census
2015 Estimate

The median age was 32 years old. The median house value was $98,500 (2000). For population 15 years and over in Prosser city

  • Never married: 18.1%
  • Now married: 64.1%
  • Separated: 1.9%
  • Widowed: 7.5%
  • Divorced: 10.9%

For population 20 years and over in Prosser:

  • High school or higher: 68.0%
  • Bachelor's degree or higher: 16.2%
  • Graduate or professional degree: 6.0%
  • Unemployed: 6.6%
  • Mean travel time to work: 18.9 minutes

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 5,714 people, 2,023 households, and 1,396 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,272.6 inhabitants per square mile (491.4/km2). There were 2,129 housing units at an average density of 474.2 per square mile (183.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 76.1% White, 0.5% African American, 0.5% Native American, 2.0% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 17.6% from other races, and 3.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 37.2% of the population.

There were 2,023 households, of which 39.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.3% were married couples living together, 14.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 31.0% were non-families. 27.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.80 and the average family size was 3.42.

The median age in the city was 32.8 years. 30.8% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.8% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.5% were from 25 to 44; 21.4% were from 45 to 64; and 13.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.7% male and 52.3% female.

Major highways and closest cities


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 AVA. Prosser now has nearly 40 wineries in an area about ten-by-ten miles.

Notable people

  • Mary L. Boas — An American mathematician and physics instructor and author
  • George Boomer — Socialist newspaper editor and 1908 gubernatorial candidate
  • Walter Clore — Father of Washington wine
  • Lorena González, Seattle city councilmember
  • Harold McCluskey — "The Atomic Man"
  • Kellen Moore — Offensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys. Former NFL Quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. Former All-American quarterback for Boise State University and local Prosser High School.
  • Kelly Blair Labounty - 1996 Olympian. The first person to defeat Jackie Joyner-Kersee in eight years.
  • Colonel William Farrand Prosser — city founder, U.S. Army Colonel in the Civil War
  • The Rt. Rev. Brian Norman Prior - IX Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Minnesota
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