Read about the History of Kittitas County.
Alexander Ross, a fur trader for John Jacob Astor, travels to the Kittitas Valley in search of horses. He is the first known white man to enter the valley.
Father Pandosy, Chirouse, and G. Blanchet establish Immaculate Conception, a Catholic mission, near Manastash Creek.
Lt. George B. McClellan leads the first government expedition into the Kittitas Valley. He was conducting a survey for construction of a railroad in “Nahcheez” and Snoqualmie passes.
Yakama Indian War
Cattlemen including Ben Snipes bring herds to graze in the Kittitas Valley.
Ferguson County is created and includes much of modern Kittitas and Yakima Counties. County is soon disbanded.
William (Bud) Wilson builds a small cabin on a creek (later known as Wilson Creek).
First accepted land survey performed.
Charles Splawn (brother of Andrew Jackson Splawn) moves to the valley at Taneum.
The first Upper Valley settler, Frederick Ludi, arrives.
Completion of a wagon road over Snoqualmie Pass links Kittitas Valley to the Puget Sound.
Tillman Houser and family settles in the Ellensburg area.
Taneum post office is established.
Viola B. Splawn is the first white child born in Kittitas County. She is the daughter of Charles A. and Dulcena H. (Thorp) Splawn.
AJ Splawn and Ben Burch purchase Wilson’s Cabin and move it to the present-day location of E 3rd Avenue between N Main Street and N Water Street in Ellensburg. Cabin serves as the first trading post and is known as Robber’s Roost.
John and Mary Ellen Shoudy arrive in the Kittitas Valley from Seattle and purchase Robber’s Roost from AJ Splawn and Ben Burch. The Shoudys receive a gift of 160 acres from AJ Splawn.
Jacob Becker builds the first blacksmith shop in Ellensburgh near Robber’s Roost.
Gold Rush begins in the Swauk Creek area. The Swauk Mining District encompasses more than 1,000 acres.
July 20, 1875
John and Mary Ellen Shoudy have 160 acres of land near Robber’s Roost divided into lots and streets. John Shoudy names the platted city Ellensburgh after his wife Mary Ellen.
John Shoudy builds first frame, two-story building in Ellensburgh.
The Old Stockade Fort was constructed to protect white settlers from Indians.
First record of prospecting in Cle Elum River Valley.
June 12, 1883
The first newspaper, the Kittitas Localizer, is published.
June 16, 1883
The second newspaper, Kittitas Standard, is published.
Aug 29, 1883
A fire destroys a portion of Ellensburg’s Business District. Estimated loss is $53,000.
Nov 26, 1883
Ellensburgh is named county seat and officially incorporated.
Nov 28, 1883
Kittitas County is created.
Nov 28 — Kittitas County is created.
First National Bank of Ellensburg is chartered
Ellensburg Hook and Ladder Company Number 1 is organized, bringing early firefighting to the growing city.
Miners settle along banks of William Creek (present-day Liberty) to hunt for gold.
First marriage license is issued in Kittitas County to John C. Ellison and Amy C. Childs.
Thomas Gamble stakes a claim for a homestead in present-day Cle Elum
Ellensburgh Academy, a private Presbyterian school, is established in Ellensburgh
First Kittitas County Fair is held.
Roslyn Vein (coal) discovered.
Ellensburg Water Company begins operation.
Mar 13, 1885
Fire burns a part of Ellensburg’s Business District. Estimated loss is $15,000
Roslyn is founded.
Teanaway City is founded by August Hess. Within two years, businesses have moved to Cle Elum and town folds.
Feb 26, 1886
City of Ellensburgh holds its first election, with Austin Mires elected mayor. He defeated John A. Shoudy 279-93.
Mar 1, 1886
City of Ellensburgh organized.
Mar 2, 1886
First city council meeting held for City of Ellensburgh.
Mar 31, 1886
First Northern Pacific Railroad train arrives in Ellensburgh from Yakima.
June 2, 1887
Northern Pacific Railroad completes tracks across the Cascades linking Ellensburgh to Puget Sound communities
July 1, 1887
First train passes through Ellensburgh to the Puget Sound.
County Courthouse is built.
Aug 17, 1888
First strike by Roslyn coal miners.
Feb 4, 1889
City of Roslyn is incoporated, but is later nullified. Official re-incorporation occurs on April 26, 1890.
Feb 22, 1889
Washington Territory admitted into the union. Proclamation making Washington the 42nd state issued on Nov 11.
July 4, 1889
Ellensburgh’s Central Business District is almost completely destroyed by fire. 10 blocks of downtown and 200 homes are destroyed. Estimated loss is $2 million
July 6, 1889
Citizens of Ellensburgh begin rebuilding their city.
Nov 9, 1889
First telephone was connected in Ellensburg.
The Brick Tavern in Roslyn is built.
B.F. Craig builds a mansion in Ellensburgh known as the Castle.
Labor clashes and strikes rock the cities of Cle Elum and Roslyn
Thorp is founded.
Early lighting system developed by John Shoudy gives Ellensburgh a municipal power supply.
The Ellensburg Light Department is Washington’s first municipally owned and operated lighting system.
The first telephone service in Ellensburgh arrives and is supplied by the Sunset.
Telephone and Telegraph Company, part of the Pacific States Telephone and Telegraph Comapny.
Nov 4, 1890
Ellensburg loses the bid for state capital.
July 23, 1891
Cle Elum suffers a devastating fire.
Sept 6, 1891
Washington State Normal School opens to public (now known as Barge Hall at Central Washington University).
Mine explosion in Roslyn kills 45 men.
Northern Pacific Railroad, and the Yakima and Kittitas irrigation districts surveyed lakes Kitcheols (now Keechelus) and Kachees, and Cle Elum to construct crib dams for irrigation.
Sept 24, 1892
Five robbers hit the Benjamin E. Snipes and Company Bank in Roslyn when the payroll for the Roslyn mine is delivered — upwards of $100,000 is stolen.
Ellensburgh re-incorporates under new state laws.
Kittitas County suffers through the financial Panic of 1893
The spelling of Ellensburgh is changed to Ellensburg by the United States Post Office.
Stampede rail tunnel completed.
Barge Hall is constructed to house the Washington State Normal School
Roslyn Public Library is founded.
Cle Elum is incorporated.
Cascade Canal Company organizes and plans to construct two large canals capable of irrigating more than 45,000 acres.
Townsite of Easton is platted.
Large-scale commercial logging led by the Cascade Logging Company begins operating in Kittitas Valley.
First automobile crosses the Snoqualmie Pass.
Flood waters swept through Cle Elum, covering Main Street.
The Evening Record is started (now called the Ellensburg Daily Record).
The Wenatchee National Forest is created.
Easton’s saloon district burns in November.
A powder magazine in Cle Elum explodes, killing eight people.
The town of Kittitas is platted.
The early telephone company becomes Ellensburg Telephone Company.
Mine explosion in Roslyn kills 10 people.
First log drive on the Yakima River takes place. The practice came to an end in 1912 because it was too dangerous and more modern equipment was invented.
Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad reaches Kittitas County.
Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad begins daily local service.
The entire business district in Easton burns to the ground.
The new Snoqualmie Pass road was dedicated, connecting Kittitas County to the Puget Sound area.
Ronald School burns.
June 25, 1918
Cle Elum suffers a devastating fire.
Sept 13-15, 1923
First Ellensburg Rodeo takes place.
Construction of what would become the High Line Canal (officially called the Kittitas Division of the Yakima Project) begins when the Bureau of Reclamation becomes involved.
Ronald suffers from a fire that destroys more than 30 homes and 80 acres of forest when a 250 gallon still explodes in a tunnel underneath two businesses. The still is believed to be the largest in the state and supplied alcohol to many larger cities during the Prohibition.
The Great Depression brings novice miners to the Roslyn and Ronald areas looking for work to support their families.
Kittitas incorporates 62 years after it was founded. The following June the businesses on South Main Street burn to the ground.
Coal miners put down their tools and go on strike.
Washington State Normal School becomes Central Washington College of Education.
The Golden Thunderbird Mining Company tries to evict the residents of Liberty in a lawsuit. The state Supreme Court rules in favor of the residents.
Central Washington College of Education becomes Central Washington State College.
Kittitas County Historical Society is organized.
The last Roslyn coal mine — No. 9 — closes. More than 50 million tons of coal were shipped from Roslyn when coal was king.
Lourdes Academy Ellensburg closes after 64 years of providing parochial education in the Kittitas Valley.
Liberty, the oldest continuously lived in mining town in the Washington territory, is placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Central Washington University student Susan Rancourt, an 18-year-old freshman was reported missing on April 17. Her disappearance and murder were later linked to serial killer Ted Bundy
July 1, 1977
Downtown Ellensburg is added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Central Washington State College becomes Central Washington University.
Ellensburg hosts the Washington State Conference for Women, part of the state’s participation in International Women’s Year.
President Jimmy Carter signs a congressional bill clearing Liberty residents to gain clear title to their land.
The city of Roslyn becomes the setting for the network television series “Northern Exposure.”
Fred Meyer Corporation proposes developing a large retail store in Ellensburg.
The historic Moose Lodge’s roof collapses on Dec 27, under the weight of heavy snow. A state of emergency is declared, but several other structures also sustain heavy damage. Estimated damage is $20 million.
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Schaake Corporation closes down Ellensburg feed lot operations; relocates to the Quincy area.
Jan 8, 1999
Kittitas County Fair and Rodeo Grounds joins the National Register of Historic Places.