Ellensburg is a city with a population was 20,326 in a 2017 census estimate. It is located just east of the cascade Range on Interstate 90 and is known as the most centrally located city in the state. Ellensburg was officially incorporated on November 26, 1883.
came to the Kittitas Valley in 1871, and purchased a small trading post from Andrew Jackson "A.J." Splawn, called "Robber's Roost." Robber's Roost was the first business in the valley, other than the early trading that occurred among American Indians, cattle drivers, trappers, and miners. Robber's Roost was located on the present-day 3rd Avenue, just west of Main Street near the alley. There is a placard on the wall commemorating the location, as well as a small stone monument against the wall on the sidewalk. When asked what he wanted to call the town, he replied, "Ellensburg", after his wife, Mary Ellen Shoudy.
thus officially began the city of Ellensburg around 1872. Shoudy was not the first settler in the Valley, nor was he the first businessperson, but he was responsible for platting the city of Ellensburg in the 1870s, and he was the person who named the streets in the downtown district.
Our first stop today was at the Kittitas County Historical Museum
to pick up a walking tour map. However, we quickly disscovered that the museum had far more to offer than we could have anticipated … much of it donated by past and present residents of the city … including many artifacts from long ago.
Train freight wagon
With its 1919 unique design, the disc wheels eliminated a common problem of wheel spokes puncturing holes in the bike tires.
Cost: ~$10.00 per bike
Cornhusk bags are unique products of the Columbia Plateau Native American groups. Designed to transport and store dried foods and other valuables, these bags were made of a plain twining of cotton warp., Indian hemp and cotton werfs. Following contact with European Americans, new materials such as brightly colored wools became available and were integrated into the existing art forms. These bags represent examples of this stage of the form’s development.
These beaded bags are products of craftspeople of the Mid Columbia Plateau Notice American groups. Earlier and less decorated examples were used for everyday transportation and storage, but bags with elaborate beaded designs were used as trade items and personal decorative accessories, and oftern passed down through generations.
They had a fascinating collection of cars from the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Ford Model TT Truck (circa 1922) – equipped with a 20 hp engine it could haul a one-ton load
There was a room dedicated to wars our country has fought and in which young men from Ellensburg served and frequently died.
Spanish American War
World War I
World War II
World War II Jeep
Then there were some truly old items … hundreds of years
Native American Petroglyphs
and even millions of years old in fact.
After more than an hour … actually just skimming the surface of what the museum had to offer … we headed out on a walking tour of the historic downtown area of Ellensburg with its many architectually-unique buildings (nearly all having seen many occupants since their were built).
Bossong Building (1889)
Davidson Buuilding (1919)
Farmers Bank (1911)
Former Masonic Temple (1890)
Geiger Woods Building (1889)
Lynch Building (1888)
Several Main Street Buildings (1880 – 1911)
National Bank of Ellensburg (1888)
Pearson Building (1908)
Shaw's Furniture and Appliances (since 1919)
The sides of many of the building have been used for advertising … a few badly faded
Around the city there were a great many bike racks,
We then stumbled upon Dick and Jane's Spot … an art site and a home. Dick and Jane made most of the art you see but they have also collected art. The works of over 40 Northwest artists are on display in the yard. Generally, what you see from outside the fence is what you see. The rest is a private yard so visitors are requested to remain outside the fences. The Spot has been a work in progress for 40 years. There are over 10,000 bottle caps and thousands of reflectors. The pieces in the yard are always changing. Old pieces decay and new ones are added.
After lunch at the Yellow Church Cafe,
The Yellow Church Cafe was built in 1923 as a church for the German Lutherans. Since then, the building has served many purposes and is now a restaurant. We believe that food, friends and fellowship go hand in hand. We strive for excellence.
We had a great lunch on the porch
we headed back to our campground, passing more curiousities along the way.
The more we travel across the United States and Canada, the more we discover there are some many interesting places to see.