Zillah is a quaint small town of approximately 2,700 residents which lies just on the outskirts of the Rattlesnake Hills American Viticultural Area. Surrounded by vineyards and orchards this agricultural area offers a peaceful sojourn from the rush and hustle of city living. Wineries and produce stands and bed and breakfasts are hidden among the many acres of farmland surrounding the town.
The early settlement of Zillah was made possible by two dominant individuals. Thomas F. Oakes, president of the Northern Pacific Railroad entrusted a man named Walter N. Granger to fulfill his vision of transforming the arid desert land of the lower valley into a lush green valley of agricultural productivity by means of irrigation from the nearby Yakima River.
After studying the matter for a few days, Granger decided to assume the challenge before him. During the 1890's the Sunnyside Canal project was begun. With construction out of the way, the promoter and sole superintendent of the canal, Granger, selected a townsite in 1891.
The question of naming the town arose. During the visit, the decision was made to name the town Zillah, in honor of Miss Zillah Oakes, daughter of the railroad company president. Development of the townsite occurred quickly. Shortly after, a hotel was built. Soon a general store, drug store and a blacksmith shop were added.