Willard J. Kincaid

Dublin Core

Title

Willard J. Kincaid

Subject

A virtual guide to the communities displaced when the federal government inaugurated the Manhattan Project on the Hanford Site in 1943. Funded by the Benton County, Washington Historical Preservation Grant.

Description

Biography of Willard J. Kincaid, manager of the First Bank of White Bluffs

Creator

Written by Mark Schafer

Publisher

Hanford History Project at WSU Tri-Cities

Rights

Those interested in reproducing part or all of this collection should contact the Hanford History Project at ourhanfordhistory@tricity.wsu.edu, who can provide specific rights information for these items.

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Text

Willard J. Kincaid

Willard J. Kincaid is a fondly-remembered and prominent figure in the pre-Manhattan Project history of the Hanford area. A banker and community advocate, he helped develop the White Bluffs area into a thriving town while taking on several projects to better the community such as the Priest Rapids Irrigation District, where he served on the board and helped to secure the necessary funds to get the district up and running.  Kincaid was also the proprietor and manager of the White Bluffs Bank, which served White Bluffs and its surrounding areas including Vernita and the Priest Rapids Valley.  Kincaid worked for the White Bluffs Bank from the time he relocated to White Bluffs from Farmer, Washington in 1909, to the time he retired in the 1940s, when he subsequently relocated to Riverside, California.[1] During his many decades in White Bluffs, Kincaid and other businessmen built a golf course, started several commercial clubs and women’s clubs, and Kincaid was often the chair of many of these meetings.[2] In December of 1930, he was elected to the Priest Rapids Irrigation District’s board of trustees after having resigned his director’s position in September to legitimize the project and get it off the ground.[3]

Irrigation projects in this part of the Priest Rapids Valley had a short and troubled history of fiscal insolvency and difficulty delivering water, starting with the Priest Rapids Irrigation and Power Company in 1905 and continuing until the eviction of residents in 1943.[4]  Eventually the Priest Rapids Irrigation District did get off the ground and operated from 1920 to 1943, when it was condemned by the federal government in an effort to clear the land for use on the Manhattan Project[5]. However, due to various snags within the court system, the district was unable to operate for several years, according to Kincaid’s journal entries. During the Depression, which by Kincaid’s own admission started affecting him and his business in 1931, the financial situation was so dire that the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad Company had to float Kincaid and others the necessary money to keep the district in operation, which was also supplemented with money from the State Irrigation Revolving Fund to deepen the power canal, which would strengthen the power plant’s operations in the district[6]. The land itself was the subject of a lawsuit in 1950, where it was formally dissolved under eminent domain, after it was established that the United States of America had no further interest or use for the Priest Rapids site.[7]

Elsewhere in local affairs, Kincaid had a hand in the construction of the Soldier Settlements. Construction on the settlement began in 1922, with he and others in the community appearing in front of the board of Regents at Washington State University, then known as Washington State College, successfully convincing the University to sell 840 acres of land to the committee on which Kincaid was a member[8]. Later, in 1925, the land settlement project was brought forth again, and again Kincaid made his case, urging a joint session of the legislature to adjust so that the land was suitable for such a settlement.[9]  After leaving White Bluffs in the early 1940s Kincaid journeyed first up to Bellingham, where he worked in the business office of a lumber company, before going to Riverside, California. He also briefly came out of retirement to work as a bank cashier.[10]

Kincaid died in 1970 at the age of 86. During his life, he was integral in White Bluffs’ slow growth as a small, but proud community, until its abrupt abandonment in 1943, when the US Government requisitioned the land around White Bluffs for use on the Manhattan Project.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography

Kincaid Black, Virginia. “Willard John Kincaid” By M. Jay Haney. Hanford History Project. http://hanfordhistory.com/items/show/614

 

Parker, Martha Berry. Tales Of Richland, White Bluffs and Hanford 1805-1943: Before The Atomic Reserve. Fairfield, Washington: Ye Galleon Press, 1979.

 

“Prospect Bright For Enlargement Of Project” White Bluffs Spokesman. Dec. 29th, 1922. Vol 16, No. 22.

 

 


[1] Virginia Kincaid Black. “Willard John Kincaid” By M. Jay Haney. Hanford History Project. http://hanfordhistory.com/items/show/614

[2] Virginia Kincaid Black. “Willard John Kincaid” By M. Jay Haney. Hanford History Project. http://hanfordhistory.com/items/show/614

[3] White Bluffs spokesman. (White Bluffs, Wash.), 19 Sept. 1930. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

<https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn87093008/1930-09-19/ed-1/seq-1/>

[4] Martha Berry Parker, Tales of Richland, White Bluffs & Hanford 1805-1943: Before the Atomic Reserve (Fairfield, Washington:Ye Galleon Press, 1979), pp.

[5] United States v. Priest Rapids Irr. Dist, 175 F.2d 524 (9th Cir. 1949). Casetext.

[6] Virginia Kincaid Black. “Kincaid Family History,” Hanford History Project, accessed May 1, 2023, http://hanfordhistory.com/items/show/614.

[7] The United States of America, appellant, v. Priest Rapids Irrigation District et. Al, respondents. No. 31547. En Banc.  Supreme Court December 14, 1950. http://courts.mrsc.org/supreme/037wn2d/037wn2d0623.htm

[8] White Bluffs spokesman. [vol. 16, no. 22] (White Bluffs, Wash.), 29 Dec. 1922. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn87093008/1922-12-29/ed-1/seq-1/>

[9] Virginia Kincaid Black. “Kincaid Family History,” Hanford History Project, accessed May 1, 2023, http://hanfordhistory.com/items/show/614.

[10] Virginia Kincaid Black. “Kincaid Family History,” Hanford History Project, accessed May 1, 2023, http://hanfordhistory.com/items/show/614.

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Citation

Written by Mark Schafer, “Willard J. Kincaid,” Hanford History Project, accessed July 15, 2024, http://hanfordhistory.com/items/show/4951.

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