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Ellensburg is incorporated on January 1, 1884. Essay 5092 : Printer-Friendly Format

On January 1, 1884, a Territorial Act ratifies the motion to incorporate the town of Ellensburg.  Ellensburg is located in Kittitas County just east of the Cascade Mountains at the confluence of the Yakima River and Wilson Creek.

The area, which lies at approximately the geographic center of Washington, had long been a meeting place for Native Peoples.  They held an annual gathering there each fall. 

The first white settler was outlaw William Wilson, who arrived in 1867.  Wilson built a small cabin which eventually became the trading post known as Robber's Roost. He led a band of Natives and controlled the Kittitas Valley during the 1860s.  Anyone wishing to cross the Valley was obliged to pay Wilson and his followers a substantial toll.

Ellensburg is the county seat of Kittitas County, and serves as a banking, trade, and transportation hub for the region’s many farmers and cattle ranchers.

Workers of the Writers’ Program of the Work Projects Administration in the State of Washington, with additional material by Howard McKinley Corning, The New Washington: A Guide To The Evergreen State, Revised Edition (Portland: Binfords & Mort, 1950), 464; “Ellensburg On-Line, TM,” (

Travel through time (chronological order):
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Main Street, Ellensburg, August 1890
Courtesy UW Special Collections (Neg. No. UW11914)

Ellensburg, 4th Street looking west, ca. 1911
Postcard Courtesy Yakima Valley Regional Library (Image 2002-851-930)

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