A look back in local history: Vintage Tri-Cities - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

A look back in local history: Vintage Tri-Cities

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Sorenson snagged this photo from an old Kennewick H.S. yearbook. Sorenson snagged this photo from an old Kennewick H.S. yearbook.

KENNEWICK, WA - As it turns out, a lot of people tend to like looking back in time. Vintage Tri-Cities is a Facebook and Instagram page that has gained quite the following in just six months of being online. The man behind the pages has a love of local history that started, as you might guess, with Hanford.

"I don't know if I want to say how much time I've spent digging for photos," said Donald Sorenson with a laugh. "Any kind of internet search you can do, for local photos I've done."

So far, he has saved around 3,500 pictures from Tri-Cities' past.

"We have a lot more history that people realize," said Sorenson.

He finds his pictures mostly online; in old newspapers, old yearbooks and a huge portion comes from a declassified Hanford collection.

"The majority of the photos I have are from the 1940s when the government came in to Hanford and White Bluffs and said 'we're taking these towns, we need them for the war effort.' Because of that they had photographers on staff," said Sorenson.

His family, like many, has ties to early Hanford. Sorenson's grandfather came to Tri-Cities for work at Hanford. Sorenson himself is now a third-generation worker on the site. He's a chemical technologist. His father is a Hanford historian, as well. 

Sorenson stays busy working on the site and has also lived most of his life in Kennewick, save for a few years in Richland. He's also a loving husband and father to four daughters.

"My daughters who go to middle school, say I like your dad's page on Facebook. Oh that's your dad? I can't believe that's your dad, I like that page," Sorenson said with another laugh.

An audience of young and older crowds have become a part of the page's more than 10,000-strong following.
     
"There are so many memories of people who have lived here their whole lives or lived here and moved away," said Sorenson. "So it's just not locals who are looking at this page. People all across the nation with some sort of connection to Tri-Cities are viewing this page."

Vintage Tri-Cities fans aren't only enjoying the photos, they're helping Sorenson add to his collection, too.

"Some of the coolest pictures I've seen have actually been from fans of the page. That's actually been my coolest photo source because some of those photos are from a private collection. Other than family members, they've never been seen before," said Sorenson.|

His oldest photo is from the Hanford settler's collection. It's from the 1880s at White Bluffs.

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