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Ellensburg, Washington
—  City  —
The historic Davidson Building, completed in 1890, Ellensburg, Washington.

Location of Ellensburg, Washington
Coordinates: 46°59′49″N 120°32′42″W / 46.99694°N 120.545°W / 46.99694; -120.545
Country United States
State Washington
County Kittitas
Incorporated November 26, 1883
 - Type Council-Manager
 - City Manager Ted Barkley
 - Mayor Nancy Lillquist
 - Total 6.6 sq mi (17.2 km2)
 - Land 6.6 sq mi (17.1 km2)
 - Water 0.0 sq mi (0.1 km2)
Elevation 1,542 ft (470 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 15,414
 - Density 2,338.9/sq mi (903.1/km2)
Time zone Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)
 - Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP codes 98926, 98950
Area code(s) 509
FIPS code 53-21240[1]
GNIS feature ID 1519305[2]
Barge Hall, Central Washington University

Ellensburg is a city in, and the county seat of, Kittitas County, Washington, United States.[3] The population was 15,414 at the 2000 census. This number includes the college student population, which accounts for roughly 9,000. Ellensburg is located just east of the Cascade Range on I-90. Ellensburg is the home of Central Washington University (CWU).

The surrounding Kittitas Valley is internationally known for the timothy-hay that it produces. There are several local hay brokering and processing operations that ship to Pacific Rim countries. The old part of the town is fairly historic, with old brick buildings from the late 19th century. This is a legacy of its bid to be the state capital, which it lost to Olympia.[4] CWU being placed there is another product of that legacy; the state legislature selected Ellensburg as the location for the then Normal School as a consolation prize.[5] Eastern Washington has a much drier climate than Western Washington, and some Seattle-area residents have moved to the city and commute over Snoqualmie Pass on I-90 to jobs located in the Puget Sound region.

Ellensburg is a stop on the PRCA professional rodeo circuit, occurring each year on Labor Day weekend. The Ellensburg Rodeo has been a town tradition since 1923, and is the largest rodeo in Washington state.[6]



Ellensburg was officially incorporated on November 26, 1883. John A. Shoudy came to the Kittitas Valley in 1871, and purchased a small trading post from A.J. Splawn, called "Robber's Roost." Shoudy named the town after his wife, Mary Ellen Shoudy, and officially began the city of Ellensburg around 1872. Robber's Roost was the first business in the valley, other than the early trading that occurred among Indians, cattle drivers, trappers, and miners. Robber's Roost was located on the present-day 3rd Avenue, just west of Main Street near the alley. There is a placard on the wall commemorating the location, as well as a small stone monument against the wall by the sidewalk on 3rd Avenue. Shoudy was not the first settler in the Kittitas Valley, nor was he the first businessperson, but he was responsible for platting the city of Ellensburg in the 1870s, and he was the person who named the streets in the downtown district.

The city was originally named Ellensburgh, until the final -h was dropped under standardization pressure from the United States Postal Service and Board of Geography Names in 1894.[7] Ellensburg is one of the cities featured in the Hank Snow song, "I've Been Everywhere." Also recorded by Johnny Cash.

There were several early newspapers in Ellensburg. The Daily Record, however, began in 1909 and is still the name of the local newspaper today. The Daily Record celebrated it's 100th Anniversary during the summer of 2009, and has been in the same location that entire time.[6]

Ellensburg hosts the annual Jazz in the Valley music festival on the last weekend in July.[8]

Concerns over the state of Ellensburg's historic downtown have lead to the formation of the Ellensburg Downtown Association to work on revitalizing the area.[9]


Ellensburg is located at 46°59'49" North, 120°32'42" West (46.997064, -120.545119)[10].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.6 square miles (17.2 km²), of which, 6.6 square miles (17.1 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.75%) is water.


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1870 150
1880 150 0%
1890 2,768 1,745.3%
1900 1,737 −37.2%
1910 4,209 142.3%
1920 3,967 −5.7%
1930 4,621 16.5%
1940 5,944 28.6%
1950 8,430 41.8%
1960 8,625 2.3%
1970 13,568 57.3%
1980 11,752 −13.4%
1990 12,361 5.2%
2000 15,414 24.7%
Est. 2008 17,141 11.2%

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 15,414 people, 6,249 households, and 2,649 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,338.9 people per square mile (903.1/km²). There were 6,732 housing units at an average density of 1,021.5/sq mi (394.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 88.07% White, 1.17% Black or African American, 0.95% Native American, 4.09% Asian, 0.16% Pacific Islander, 2.86% from other races, and 2.69% from two or more races. 6.33% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 6,249 households out of which 20.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 31.4% were married couples living together, 8.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 57.6% were non-families. 35.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.12 and the average family size was 2.84.

In the city the population was spread out with 15.8% under the age of 18, 39.3% from 18 to 24, 22.7% from 25 to 44, 12.8% from 45 to 64, and 9.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 24 years. For every 100 females there were 95.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $20,034, and the median income for a family was $37,625. Males had a median income of $31,022 versus $22,829 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,662. About 18.8% of families and 34.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 29.0% of those under age 18 and 11.2% of those age 65 or over.

Ellensburg City Council

The City of Ellensburg utilizes the Manager/Council form of government with a City Manager hired by the City Council. The seven member City Council is elected at large and serve 4-year terms. The City Council elects a Mayor and Deputy Mayor from the Council to serve 2-year terms. The Council meets the first and third Monday of each month, 7:00 p.m., in the City Council Chambers at City Hall, 501 North Anderson Street.

  • Position 1: Nancy Lillquist, Mayor
  • Position 2: Richard E. Elliot
  • Position 3: Obie O'Brien
  • Position 4: Bruce Tabb
  • Position 5: Stan Bassett
  • Position 6: Fennelle Miller
  • Position 7: George Bottcher

See also

Further reading

  • Kirk, Ruth, and Carmela Alexander, (1990, revised edition 1995), Exploring Washington's Past, University of Washington Press, Seattle. ISBN 0-295-97443-5
  • Caveness, Andrew. "Images of America: Ellensburg," Arcadia Press, San Francisco, 2009. ISBN 0738571547


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  4. ^ Ellensburg loses its bid to become state capital on November 4, 1890.
  5. ^ Ruth Kirk, Carmela Alexander. Exploring Washington's Past: A Road Guide to History. University of Washington Press, 1995. p.124
  6. ^ a b Visit Ellensburg
  7. ^ Kirk (1995:123)
  8. ^ Jazz In The Valley
  9. ^ Ellensburg Downtown Association
  10. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  11. ^ Moffatt, Riley. Population History of Western U.S. Cities & Towns, 1850-1990. Lanham: Scarecrow, 1996, 319.
  12. ^ "Subcounty population estimates: Washington 2000-2007" (CSV). United States Census Bureau, Population Division. 2009-03-18. Retrieved 2009-05-10.  

External links

46°59′49″N 120°32′42″W / 46.997064°N 120.545119°W / 46.997064; -120.545119Coordinates: 46°59′49″N 120°32′42″W / 46.997064°N 120.545119°W / 46.997064; -120.545119 - Ellensburg, Washington


Simple English

Ellensburg is a city in the state of Washington.


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