John and Mary Ellen Shoudy came to the Kittitas valley from Seattle because of Shoudy's business interests in improving Snoqualmie Pass. John Shoudy's brother-in-law was Seattle bank founder Dexter Horton.
As owners of Robber's Roost, the Shoudys foresaw the area's potential as a townsite. In 1875, John Shoudy platted the streets of what was first known as Ellen's Burgh and eventually Ellensburg, in honor of Mary Ellen.
The original Robber's Roost, located at what is now (2005) the corner of 3rd Avenue and Main Street, burned to the ground along with the rest of Ellensburg on July 4, 1889.