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History & Culture

central,washington,color,home,page | Things to Do | History & Culture ... Ellensburg
Carpenter Museum
Cle Elum Rail Yard
Cle Elum Telephone Museum
Telephone Museum Operator
Ellensburg Farmers Bank
Geddis Building
Kittitas County Museum
Roslyn Museum
Swauk Teanaway
The Brick in Roslyn
Thorp Historic Grain Wagon
Thorp Mill
Town of Roslyn
Vantage Bridge Construction
Vantage Ginko Forest

  Find History & Culture
Experience our past while informing your future!
Central Washington is jam-packed with coal mining, railroad, timber, agriculture, education and many more intriguing topics. Visit a wide variety of museums and historical sites that have emerged to pay tribute to these topics. Countless captivating stories, rich cultural backgrounds and intriguing historic sites can be found in Central Washington. Discover Central Washington's history today!

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Results: 1 - 44   of 44 results
Davidson Building (#1290)
Local attorney John B. Davidson built this well-known landmark structure of Ellensburg. Davidson spent tens of thousands of dollars on the construction work of this block. Tin-work on the facade mimics more expensive stone work. The phoenix finial at the parapet symbolized Ellensburg's rise from the ashes of the recent fire. The Davidson Building underwent a major restoration in 1979.
Castle Building (#1280)
Orin B. Castle constructed this building. Castle's business, the Keghouse, opened in 1889 and sold wines, liquors, and cigars. In 1910, the outside of the building received a face-lift, getting a concrete/plaster covering. The building's most memorable occupant was Mills Saddle and Togs, a western store.
Geiger Woods Building (#1276)
John Geiger, a tailor, and Alfred Woods, a barber, quickly constructed this building after the fire. Each occupied a suite upon completion. The building's attractive pediment crowns an impressive cornice typical of construction in town at the time. 
Third Eye Tattoo & Piercing (#1371)
105 E 3rd Ave
Ellensburg, WA 98926
We are a custom street shop that loves to take on a challenge, no matter how big or small! Our shop is by appointment, although we will take walk-ins if we have the time.

We do both tattoos and body piercings, so there is something for everyone!
Smithson Building (#1297)
William O. Ames, a local builder, helped with both the design and construction of this building. John H. Smithson, mayor of Ellensburg and president of The Washington State Bank, arranged its construction. The Williams-Smithson Hardware Co. occupied the site for many years. The upstairs still has several intact office suites, occupied in the past by various town doctors. 
Gallery One (#783)
408 N. Pearl St.
Ellensburg, WA 98926
Gallery One Visual Arts Center has monthly exhibitions of local, regional and national artists. Open seven days a week, locals and tourists can visit the gallery spaces, make art, purchase art from over 80 artists in the gift shop or rent the facility for a special occassion.

Gallery One is also host to, or participates in, many local events throughout the year including First Friday, the annual Soup Line, the international Pecha Kucha evenings, and many more. Gallery One is also the central organizing force behind one of the more unique artistic events in the Northwest - Paint Ellensburg. Every September artists sign up to create artworks around town. You'll find artists outside on the street corners, in coffee shops and other local businesses! Check their website for up-to-date information.

You and your family can try your hand at art-making year-round. From painting to ceramics, classes are offered for all ages and abilities. Ladies love to Sip & Paint, everyone loves to get their hands dirty in the clay studio, families enjoy Sunday Fundays on the third Sunday of each month and kids love summer art camps and the art-after-school programs!

Ben Snipes Bank (#1295)
Built on this site in 1888, the Ben E. Snipes Bank was said to be the most attractive building in Ellensburg. In rebuilding after the fire, Snipes said the new structure needed to be equally impressive and more substantial. The new bank had two towers built with red cement and finely carved stonework. Only four years later, however, the bank closed its doors in an economic collapse that affected the entire community. The building was radically redesigned with a modern look in the 1940's.
Kreidel Building (#1271)
Built by Samuel Kreidel just after the fire, this building was among the most exuberant in Ellensburg. Before renovations in the 1940s, the center section at the corner of Third and Pearl towered above the street with an impressive cupola, dome, and finial. The Kreidel Building was built using the Germanic Empire style that Samuel Kreidel was familiar with from his home in Germany.

Fitterer Building (#1277)
The first Fitterers in Ellensburg, brothers Philip and Frank, founded Fitterer Brothers Furniture in 1896. This building, which still houses Fitterer's Furniture, was completed for them in September of 1908. The business has remained in the same family for multiple generations.

Goodey Gallery (#1068)
309 N. Pearl Street
Ellensburg, WA 98926
The Goodey Gallery, managed by the Western Art Association, features original fine art, giclee reproductions, cards and gift items. The Western Art Association (WAA) was formed in 1972 to promote interest in western art, artifacts and to preserve our unique western heritage. Thanks to its dedicated board members and the WAA membership, this non-profit corporation has remained alive and healthy for over 30 years.
Wilson Building (#1288)
This building, like its neighbors, is made of brick manufactured in Chicago. The iron columns, however, were fabricated locally at the Ellensburg foundry. Thomas Wilson, owner of the Ellensburg and Waterville Stage Line, arranged the building's construction. 
Dick and Jane's Spot (#1065)
101 N. Pearl Street
Ellensburg, Washington 98926
The location is at the corner of 1st & Pearl Street in Ellensburg WA -- across from the fire station. There is a public parking lot on the north side of the house. To accommodate the fire trucks there is no parking in front of the house.

Dick & Jane's Spot is dedicated to the philosophy that "one hearty laugh is worth ten trips to the doctor."
Farmer's Bank (#1284)
This neo-classical bank structure opened for business in 1911. F. R. Spangler, a local architect, designed the building and guided the construction effort. In 1967, Kittitas Land Title Company bought the building, remodeled it, and renamed it the Land Title Building.
Sarah Spurgeon Gallery (#1069)
400 E University Way
Ellensburg, WA 98926
The mission of the Sarah Spurgeon Gallery is to offer the campus of Central Washington University and the community at large the opportunity to view and experience art first hand. The Gallery's exhibitions and related outreach programs (such as workshops, artist lectures, and interpretive programs) are designed to support the Department's educational objectives as well as to enhance, engage, and challenge the viewer's knowledge and understanding of art. The Gallery also presents artists and viewers alike with opportunities to explore culturally diverse ideas in an academic environment.
Ellensburg Frontier Village (#782)
5th & Poplar St
Ellensburg, WA 98926
A visit to the Ellensburg Frontier Village is a Step back in time to the turn-of-the-century. The Village has replicated an old town with a blacksmith, sarsaparilla saloon, general store, school house and of course, a place to pan for gold. On site village volunteers man each of the major buildings and cabins, dressed in authentic costumes. Some have been involved in the village for over 30 years. The Frontier Village is located at the Kittitas Valley Event Center. It is a showcase for old salvaged cabins and buildings from the valley's past, including Ellensburg's original trading post, Robbers Roost. This building dates back to 1870 and was the original trading post log cabin where Ellensburg was initially started. Several other buildings were transported from the foothills of the Cascade Mountains.

The village is in full operation during the Kittitas County Fair and Rodeo and has become a popular site for small local events and outdoor weddings. Off season, special arrangements can be made, including host guided tours of the buildings, by going to the Kittitas Valley Event Center Website to make reservations.

Bank Saloon Building (#1291)
This building is thought to have been built after the fire. The back wall houses an over-sized safe, used by the saloon's patrons to hold their spending cash. It has been rumored that ladies of the evening occupied the second floor of this establishment. The upstairs is now utilized as an apartment
The Roost Tattoo (#1369)
315 N Main St
Ellensburg, WA 98926
A modern style and comfortable permanent art experience. let us be your first tattoo, and let us be many more to come.
Dickson Building (#1286)
What was an old "billboard lot" and an "unsightly" gap between the Olympia and Lynch blocks became the Dickson Building on May 22, 1919 when W.O. Ames finished the ornamental hollow terra cotta building for Elizabeth Dickson. The first occupants of the building were C. E. Wheeler & Co. (merchantile) on the north side and J. N. O. Thompson (jewelry) on the south side. The building's most memorable occupant was Dean's Radio & Television 1968-2004. The building's interior was remodeled in 2004 for its current occupants. 
Masonic Temple (#1282)
Built right after the big reconstruction rush, the local Masonic Lodge planned and carried out this project. The upstairs continues to house their elaborate secret meeting rooms. 
Shoudy Cadwell Block (#1274)
On this corner site stood the original Robber's Roost, a trading post for which locals originally named Ellensburg. John Shoudy purchased the original "roost" and gained the surrounding 160 acres, later naming the plot "Ellensburgh" for his wife, Mary Ellen. John Shoudy and Edward Cadwell had this structure put up for use as a hotel with retail storefronts. The elegant upstairs hotel remains locked away with its former glory still intact. 
The Lynch Block (#1285)
The "1888 Building" was one of the few buildings that was not destroyed by the fire. Local contractor John Nash constructed the building, which was paid for by Pat Lynch. A Rag Ball Social and Oyster Supper accompanied the opening of the building on January 10, 1889. In 1976, with Bicentennial grant money, the building received a much needed renovation.
Olmstead State Park (#785)
921 Ferguson Rd.
Ellensburg, WA 98926
The Olmstead State park is a working pioneer farm and hails as one of the first homesteads in the Kittitas Valley. Many of the original buildings still stand including a log cabin built in 1875 by the Olmstead family. In addition, there is a dairy barn, grainery, wagon shed, hay barn and the Olmstead family home.

The park consists of 217 acres of farmland and encompasses activities such as hiking, fishing, interpretive trails, wildlife viewing, and a living farm museum. During the winter there is also cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on the site.

The park hosts tours and school field trips so call the park at (509) 925-1943 for appointments and further information.
Several picnic tables are available and can be reserved by contacting the park. Hours of operation are from 6:30 AM until dusk in the summer months and from 8:00 AM until dusk in the winter.


Summer: 6:30 AM - Dusk
Winter: 8:00 AM - Dusk

I.O.O.F. Building (#1293)
The Independent Order of Oddfellows Lodge was founded in Ellensburg in 1881. The Oddfellows first met in a two-story structure at the corner of Pearl and Third. In 1885, town founder John Shoudy donated space for a decent lodge. However, that building burned down four years later. In 1901, the Lodge finally raised enough money to purchase this site in the Maxey Block. The building was completed in 1913 and the Lodge has been in residence ever since. 
Elmira Block (#1292)
Built by W. W. Fish, this was the first brick building completed after the famous fire. Fish named the building after his hometown Elmira, New York. What you cannot see of this building is the originally featured handsome arched windows, a massive cornice, and pediment. The occupancy of this building has included the Elmira Hotel (upstairs floor), the New York Store (ground floor), operated by H. L. Stowell, and later became known as the Vanderbilt Block after the building was purchased by Mr. Vanderbilt. 
Frontier Village (#1223)
Located at the Kittitas County Fairgrounds this village is a showcase for original cabins and buildings from the valley's past, including the original trading post, Robbers' Roost. Tours may be arranged by contacting the Fairgrounds office.
Clymer Museum of Art (#784)
416 N. Pearl St.
Ellensburg, WA 98926
The Clymer is one remarkable place to visit! The Museum showcases artwork of one of the greatest local artists from the early 1900's, John Clymer, and is a snap shot of life during that period. John Clymer, known for his historic and artistic contribution in documenting the American Frontier, was born in Ellensburg, Washington in 1907. Clymer devoted his time to easel painting, and committed himself to painting the wildlife and history of the American West.

The Clymer Museum of Art endeavors to provide a venue for new and emerging artists as well. Each year many of the exhibitions feature local artists, and often provide artwork for purchase. The museum also provides demonstrations, lectures, school field trips and tours to their visitors.


Monday through Friday 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM

The museum is also open until 7:00 PM on the first Friday of every month for the First Friday Art Walk.

Wild Horse Wind Farm (#787)
25901 Vantage Highway
Ellensburg, WA 98926
The Wild Horse Wind Farm, which sits atop the Whiskey Dick Mountain, is just a few miles from Ellensburg on high open range tops.  Built by Puget Sound Energy, it consists of one hundred and forty Nine wind turbines.  Wild Horse takes advantage of the region's strong, consistent winds and abundant sunshine to produce clean, renewable energy.

The visitor center and solar facility is open daily from April through November. On a clear day views of the entire valley are prevalent of the Kittitas Valley, Stewart Range to the Columbia Plateau to the east. The Renewable Energy Center is free and offers Wild Horse visitors a first-hand look at how energy can be made from the wind and the sun.

CWU Museum of Culture and Environment (#1062)
1200 D St
Ellensburg, WA 98926
The Museum of Culture and Environment approaches our diverse and changing world with an interdisciplinary perspective, examining human life, culture, and our interaction with the environment. The Museum is located in Dean Hall on the Central Washington University campus. The CWU Museum of Culture and Environment works with diverse communities to create opportunities for lifelong learning that foster self-discovery, global citizenship, and environmental stewardship.
Boss Bakery (#1298)
Frank Bossong built this structure directly following the great fire. F. Bossong and Co. opened the bakery's doors in November, 1889. Remodeled in 1913, the bakery moved to the rear of the structure and finally upstairs. Several other businesses have since occupied all rooms of this building
Pearson Building (#1278)
Samuel Pearson built this important local landmark in 1908. In this building, the local Brotherhood of Elks commissioned the top floor to their own specifications. The Elks remained in residence until 1923, followed by the Bureau of Reclamation and, later, the Palace Restaurant. 
Main Street Market Building (#1275)
This building was at one time called the Arcade Building due to its unique arched windows. A saloon with the longest bar in the country became the original occupant. After the saloon, the building saw various incarnations, including an opera house and a meat locker. Today, the top floor is private apartments. 
Ramsay Building (#1287)
Dick and James Ramsay, brothers from Scotland, had this building constructed to house their hardware company. Ramsay Hardware Company remained in business until 1962. The building now houses the Clymer Museum of Art. The upstairs previously housed doctor and professional  offices, as well as a multi-purpose room which are still intact today.

BF Reed Building (#1281)
Briggs F. Reed, a local dairyman, constructed this building for the Ellensburg Automobile Company. The structure was used as a sales garage for several years. 
New York Cafe (#1273)
Upper County resident, Peter Giovanini, built this structure. Upstairs there are 27 individual rooms off corridors lit by five different skylights. This was once the busiest intersection in Ellensburg. If you look west from this building, the old train depot still stands at the end of Third Avenue.

Rehmke Building (#1279)
Rehmke and Brother Jewelry Store first commissioned and occupied this building. In 1951 a fire gutted the whole upper story. The current occupant, The Tav, a local landmark in its own right, changed its name from The Tavern in the mid-1970s. The business has occupied this space since the mid 1930s. 
Kittitas County Historical Museum (#781)
114 E. 3rd Avenue
Ellensburg, WA 98926
Since 1961 the Kittitas County Historical Museum has been dedicated to preserving the history of the Kittitas Valley.  Headed by descendants of early Kittitas County pioneers, the primary goal in the beginning was to establish a location to display a collection of historical items depicting the valley's diverse history.

Since then, the museum has been able to grow considerably, displaying a range of historic memorabilia from tools, clothing, artwork and Native American artifacts to historical photographs and antique cars. The collection covers quite a wide time frame of items from dinosaur bone, dating back millions of years, to collections from every stage of Kittitas' history. The museum has over 9,000 objects in its collection today.

Hours: Monday through Saturday 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM.

Kleinberg Building (#1299)
One of the rare three story buildings in town, this building used to appear even taller, with a pediment similar to the Boss Bakery's. Also now missing is an elaborate cornice that complemented the decorative pilasters between the windows. Henry and Samuel Kleinberg constructed the building and moved in their clothing store in January of 1890. In 1908, J.B. Moser moved into town and opened The Hub, a men's clothier. The Hub remained in business until 1961.

S.R.G. Building (#1272)
As post-fire construction boomed, Sylvanus R. Geddis played a major role in the reconstruction of Ellensburg. Geddis built this building and a large building around the corner, on Pearl and Fourth, simultaneously. The architecture of this petite building disguises its actual size. This building is one of the few to have survived for over a century in original condition. 
Sarah Spurgeon Gallery (#1220)
Randall Hall houses CWU's premier art gallery that features contemporary art exhibits throughout the year, as well as graduate art students' theses. 

For more information & hours call: 509-963-2665
Zwicker Building (#1283)
This structure was built by Barthell Zwicker, a German immigrant who had homesteaded in the valley. Zwicker was a successful farmer and rancher who raised prized Durham cattle. The first ground floor business was H. F. Bledsoe's Grocery Store.

Geddis Building (#1296)
Sylvanus Ray Geddis, a wealthy rancher, constructed the original building in 1886, but it was soon lost to the great fire. Geddis quickly rebuilt it in 1889, complete with iron columns and decorative cresting along the parapet. In 1964, the upper story was covered with aluminum sheathing and its fine architectural details were removed.
Fish Block (#1294)
Another building erected by W.W. Fish, this structure later became known as the Bath Block. The Capital newspaper occupied the space for more than 25 years. New owners remodeled the block in the 1930s in the Art Deco style. More recently, the owners recessed the storefront to accommodate a clothing store. 
Stewart Building (#1289)
The Stewart Building has much in common with its flashier neighbor, the Davidson Building. Both buildings were under construction at the time of the fire and were commissioned by John B. Davidson. Davidson, a prominent local attorney, and his partner, D. H. McFall, were the first to occupy the second story of this impressive structure. 
CWU Japanese Gardens (#1253)
CWU's Japanese garden, designed by renowned landscape architect Masa Muzano (Lake Oswego, Ore.) combines the natural beauty of the Kittitas Valley with a traditional Japanese flavor.

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