Visit Ellensburg
Many people who visit the Kittitas Valley find that the area has an unmistakable draw. It’s easy to get here and hard to leave.

This was the case for the Yakama Indians who hunted and fished in the valley, and it was the case for the first settlers in the early 1860s.

Originally called Robbers Roost after the town’s original trading post, Ellensburg was a gathering place for cattle herders. Trading post owner A.J. Splawn also did considerable fur trading with the local Indian populations.

In 1872, Splawn sold the store to John Alden Shoudy and his wife Mary Ellen Stewart, whose name would become the "Ellen" in Ellensburg.

After a population boom between 1878 and 1883, the city was incorporated. Three years later, the Northern Pacific Railroad came to Ellensburg in the form of a passenger train from Yakima.

By 1889, Ellensburg was under serious consideration to become the state capital because of its central location, and the castle on Third Avenue was built as the governor’s mansion. But when most of the downtown was destroyed by fire on July 4, 1889, the bid went to Olympia instead. However, the city was elected for the state Normal School, which would become Central Washington University in 1890.

The citizens quickly rebuilt, painting a phoenix on the side of the Davidson Building to symbolize the rise from the ashes.

Important Dates:

1894 The Post Office changed the spelling of the town from Ellensburgh to Ellensburg.
1896 Fitterer Brothers Furniture opened and is still open today.
1905 The first automobiles crossed Snoqualmie Pass.
1909 The Daily Record began reporting for Kittitas County
1923 The Labor Day rodeo started and is now the oldest and largest rodeo in the state.
1930 The rare Ellensburg Blue agate became known to collectors. It is now sold around the world.

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