Tucked in the middle of Washington State, Ellensburg is located 107 miles southeast of Seattle and 172 miles southwest of Spokane. Ellensburg’s Central Washington University is what draws many new people to the area. Yet the city offers so much more beyond the university, so it’s a worthy trip and destination. Take the time to explore Ellensburg’s 6.92 square miles. There’s something new for you to see.
Ellensburg’s first business was a trading post named “Robber’s Roost.” Since the community hadn’t been established yet, the business relied on traders and Native Americans for purchases. The city grew around “Robber’s Roost. Officially incorporated in 1883, it was named after a town resident. When the Northern Pacific Railroad reached Ellensburg in 1886, it fueled additional growth. In the 1880s, Ellensburg lost their bid to become the state capitol. As a consolation prize, the city received the Washington State Normal School (later Central Washington University.
Ellenburg has a warm, dry climate. Average summer temperatures range from the mid-40s to the low 80s. Average winter temperatures range from the high teens to the low 30s.
The 2010 U.S. Census listed Ellensburg with 18,174 residents. More recent population estimates suggest that Ellensburg’s population is now over 19,000.
The top three employers in Ellensburg are Central Washington University, Anderson Hay and Grain, and the Kittitas Valley Community Hospital. Ellensburg is home to several local hay brokers and producers. The region is internationally known for their crops of timothy hay, a staple food for cattle, horses, and small domesticated pets.
The Ellensburg School District has three elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school. For those seeking post-high school education, Central Washington University has been operating in Ellensburg since it opened in 1891.
Ellensburg offers a surprising array of choices for every interest.
- Architecture fans can wander around the historical downtown district, and admire buildings built before the 1890s. (Many of these buildings were built to help Ellensburg in their one time bid to become state capitol.)
- From April-November, the Wild Horse Renewable Energy Center offers daily tours and presentations about wind and solar energy. From December-March, tours are available by appointment.
- The Olmstead Place Historical Park was originally settled in 1875. Family members of the original homesteaders gifted it to the state in 1968. As a state park, it provides a unique look into the lives of pioneers and farmers.
- Located across the street from the Ellensburg Fire Department and Police Station, Dick and Jane’s spot offers a unique collection of art pieces, sculptures, and totems.
Annual events in Ellensburg include
- January: Winterhop Brewfest
- Summer: Dachshunds on Parade annual event involving Dachshunds and their owners from across the Northwest.
- Summer: Jazz in the Valley, music festival
- Labor Day Weekend: The Ellensburg Rodeo
- September: Buskers in the Burg, outdoor event involving performers, music, and puppets.
Although it is widely known for Central Washington University, Ellensburg has a fascinating mix of opportunities outside of the school. Ellensburg offers events for fans of history, architecture, agriculture, music, art, and more. The only question remaining now is, when are you going?
City of Ellensburg. “History.” (https://www.ci.ellensburg.wa.us/index.aspx?nid=180) retrieved September 17, 2016.
Downtown Ellensburg, Washington. “Area Statistics.” (https://ellensburgdowntown.org/area-statistics/) retrieved September 17, 2016.
Ellensburg School District. “Home.” (http://www.esd401.org/) retrieved September 17, 2016
Puget Sound Energy. “Wild Horse Wind & Solar Facility & Renewable Energy Center.” 2016. (http://www.pse.com/inyourcommunity/ToursandRecreation/WildHorse/Pages/default.aspx) retrieved September 17, 2016. .
Roadside America. “Dick and Jane’s Spot: Ellensburg, Washington” (http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/7812) retrieved September 17, 2016.
Trip Advisor. “Top 10 Things to Do in Ellensburg.” (https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g58456-Activities-Ellensburg_Washington.html) retrieved September 17, 2016.
Washington State Park. “Olmstead Place Historical State Park.” (http://parks.state.wa.us/556/Olmstead-Placehttp://parks.state.wa.us/556/Olmstead-Place) retrieved September 17, 2016
Wikipedia. “Ellensburg, Washington.” July 26, 2016. . (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellensburg,_Washington) retrieved September 17, 2016.