Downtown Ellensburg is added to the National Register of Historic Places on July 1, 1977.

  • By Paula Becker
  • Posted 1/28/2003
  • Essay 5140
On July 1, 1977, the 200 acres encompassing downtown Ellensburg are placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The historic district includes 49 buildings, many dating from 1889. It lies between E 3rd and E 6th streets and N Main and N Ruby streets. The future townsite was first occupied by non-Indians in 1867, and was originally known as "Ellen's Burgh." Mary Ellen Shoudy and her husband John were among the town's first settlers and platted the townsite in 1875. Ellensburg was incorporated in 1884.

The downtown portion of Ellensburg retains a pioneer flavor, which contributes to its reputation as Washington's quintessential Western town. The structures in the historic district were executed of brick and stone after a fire on July 4, 1889, destroyed the former structures.

The arrival of the Northern Pacific Railroad in 1886 and the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad in 1909 secured Ellensburg's role as a hub of travel, trade, and community activity within the Kittitas Valley. Ellensburg is the county seat of Kittitas County.

Sources: George and Jan Roberts, Discovering Historic Washington State (Baldwin Park, CA: Gem Guides Book Company, 1999), 136; Workers of the Writers' Program of the Work Projects Administration in the State of Washington, with added material by Howard McKinley Corning, The New Washington: A Guide to the Evergreen State, Revised Edition (Portland: Binfords & Mort, 1950), 464; National Register of Historic Places, (http:/; National Register of Historic Places (
Note: This essay was expanded slightly on November 19, 2005.

Related Topics:   Cities & Towns | Landmarks

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