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Ellensburg, Washington facts for kids

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Ellensburg, Washington
Historic Davidson Building, completed in 1890
Historic Davidson Building, completed in 1890
Official seal of Ellensburg, Washington
Seal
Motto(s): 
Ellensburg Washington
Location of Ellensburg, Washington
Location of Ellensburg, Washington
Country United States
State Washington
County Kittitas
Incorporated November 26, 1883
Government
 • Type Council–manager
Area
 • City 7.81 sq mi (20.23 km2)
 • Land 7.74 sq mi (20.04 km2)
 • Water 0.08 sq mi (0.20 km2)
Elevation
1,542 ft (470 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • City 18,174
 • Estimate 
(2019)
21,111
 • Density 2,728.93/sq mi (1,053.68/km2)
 • Metro
46,205
Time zone UTC-8 (Pacific (PST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP codes
98926
Area code(s) 509
FIPS code 53-21240
GNIS feature ID 1519305

Ellensburg is a city in and the county seat of Kittitas County, Washington, United States. It is located just east of the Cascade Range near the junction of Interstate 90 and Interstate 82. The population was an estimated 21,111 as of 2019.

The city is located along the Yakima River in the Kittitas Valley, an agricultural region that extends east towards the Columbia River. The valley is a major producer of timothy hay, which is processed and shipped internationally. Ellensburg is also the home of Central Washington University (CWU).

Ellensburg, originally named Ellensburgh for the wife of town founder John Alden Shoudy, was founded in 1871 and grew rapidly in the 1880s following the arrival of the Northern Pacific Railway. The city was once a leading candidate to become the state capital of Washington, but its campaign was scuppered by a major fire in 1889.

History

2008-1019-02-CentralWashingtonUniversity
Barge Hall, Central Washington University

Ellensburg was officially incorporated on November 26, 1883. John Alden Shoudy came to the Kittitas Valley in 1871, and purchased a small trading post from Andrew Jackson "A.J." Splawn, called "Robber's Roost." Robber's Roost was the first business in the valley, other than the early trading that occurred among American 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 on the sidewalk. Shoudy named the town after his wife, Mary Ellen Shoudy, thus officially began the city of Ellensburgh around 1872. 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 Ellensburgh 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.

There were several early newspapers in Ellensburg. The Daily Record, however, began in 1909 and is the name of the local newspaper today.

Concerns over the state of Ellensburg's historic downtown led to the formation of the Ellensburg Downtown Association to work on revitalizing the area.

Arts and culture

The City of Ellensburg is home to a number of local art museums and galleries:

  • Kittitas County Historical Museum
  • The Goodey Gallery
  • Clymer Museum and Gallery
  • Gallery-One Visual Arts Center
  • 420 Loft Art Gallery
  • Sarah Spurgeon Gallery, Central Washington University (CWU) Department of Art
  • Museum of Culture & Environment, Central Washington University

Every first Friday of each month, Ellensburg hosts First Friday Art Walk from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. This downtown event showcases art of all forms. The local businesses, galleries and museums come alive with art, music, wine and people as they celebrate art in the community.

Events

  • The Kittitas County Farmers Market is held every Saturday from May to October in the heart of downtown Ellensburg.
  • Ellensburg hosts the annual Winterhop Brewfest in January. Over 21 micro breweries from around the Pacific Northwest serve their product at various venues in the historic downtown buildings.
  • Every June, Ellensburg hosts Dachshunds on Parade, an event that draws Dachshund dog owners from all over the Northwest. Events include a parade, Dachshund races, pet tricks, and a dog costume contest.
  • Ellensburg hosts the annual Jazz in the Valley music festival on the last weekend in July.
  • 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. The rodeo arena is encompassed by the popular Kittitas County Fair, also held during Labor Day weekend. The Kittitas County Fair officially began in 1885, and has been held at its current location since 1923.
  • Downtown Ellensburg hosts Buskers in the Burg the last Saturday in September. Featuring a variety of street performers (buskers), giant puppet art parade, tasting halls, children's activities, and outdoor evening concert.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.97 square miles (18.05 km2), of which 6.92 square miles (17.92 km2) is land and 0.05 square miles (0.13 km2) is water.

Climate

Owing to the strong Cascade rain shadow, Ellensburg experiences a typical Intermountain cool semi-arid climate (Köppen BSk).

Climate data for Ellensburg (1971–2000)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 64
(17.8)
66
(18.9)
80
(26.7)
94
(34.4)
99
(37.2)
108
(42.2)
110
(43.3)
110
(43.3)
99
(37.2)
87
(30.6)
79
(26.1)
59
(15)
110
(43.3)
Average high °F (°C) 33.7
(0.94)
41.3
(5.17)
52.3
(11.28)
60.4
(15.78)
68.3
(20.17)
75.0
(23.89)
82.7
(28.17)
82.9
(28.28)
74.5
(23.61)
61.5
(16.39)
44.1
(6.72)
33.7
(0.94)
59.2
(15.111)
Daily mean °F (°C) 26.2
(-3.22)
32.3
(0.17)
40.5
(4.72)
47.4
(8.56)
55.1
(12.83)
61.6
(16.44)
67.8
(19.89)
67.6
(19.78)
58.9
(14.94)
47.4
(8.56)
35.6
(2)
26.8
(-2.89)
47.27
(8.481)
Average low °F (°C) 18.6
(-7.44)
23.2
(-4.89)
28.7
(-1.83)
34.3
(1.28)
41.9
(5.5)
48.2
(9)
52.8
(11.56)
52.2
(11.22)
43.3
(6.28)
33.3
(0.72)
27.0
(-2.78)
19.8
(-6.78)
35.28
(1.819)
Record low °F (°C) −29
(-33.9)
−23
(-30.6)
−8
(-22.2)
14
(-10)
18
(-7.8)
30
(-1.1)
30
(-1.1)
29
(-1.7)
16
(-8.9)
9
(-12.8)
−29
(-33.9)
−31
(-35)
-31
(-35)
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.23
(31.2)
0.92
(23.4)
0.77
(19.6)
0.56
(14.2)
0.56
(14.2)
0.63
(16)
0.37
(9.4)
0.36
(9.1)
0.46
(11.7)
0.57
(14.5)
1.20
(30.5)
1.47
(37.3)
9.1
(231.1)
Snowfall inches (cm) 7.0
(17.8)
3.5
(8.9)
1.1
(2.8)
0.2
(0.5)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.1
(0.3)
3.3
(8.4)
7.4
(18.8)
22.6
(57.4)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 inch) 9.2 7.6 7.0 5.7 6.5 5.6 3.3 3.1 3.7 4.8 9.8 9.5 75.8
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 inch) 4.9 2.3 0.8 trace 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 2.6 4.9 14.6
Source: NOAA (normals, 1971–2000)

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 150
1880 150 0.0%
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%
2010 18,174 17.9%
2019 (est.) 21,111 16.2%
U.S. Decennial Census
2018 Estimate

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 18,174 people, 7,301 households, and 2,889 families living in the city. The population density was 2,626.3 inhabitants per square mile (1,014.0/km2). There were 7,867 housing units at an average density of 1,136.8 per square mile (438.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 85.7% White, 1.5% African American, 1.0% Native American, 3.2% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 4.6% from other races, and 3.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 9.7% of the population.

There were 7,301 households, of which 19.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 28.2% were married couples living together, 8.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 60.4% were non-families. 35.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.16 and the average family size was 2.86.

The median age in the city was 23.5 years. 14.2% of residents were under the age of 18; 41.2% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 21.8% were from 25 to 44; 13.9% were from 45 to 64; and 8.9% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 50.1% male and 49.9% female.

Education

Higher education

  • Central Washington University (est. 1891 as Washington State Normal School) offers both bachelor's and master's degrees, with over 10,000 undergraduates.

Public schools

Public schools are operated by Ellensburg School District 401. The district includes one high school (Ellensburg High School), one middle school, and three elementary schools.

Notable people

  • Brenden Adams, formerly the tallest teenager in the world at 7′8″
  • Byron Beck, American Basketball Association player
  • Drew Bledsoe, National Football League player
  • Daryl Chapin, physicist best known for co-inventing solar cells
  • John Clymer, painter and illustrator
  • Gary Lee Conner, singer-songwriter, guitarist, co-founder of Screaming Trees band
  • Van Conner, singer-songwriter, bassist, co-founder of Screaming Trees band
  • Brian Habib, National Football League player
  • Brian Haley, actor, comedian
  • Dave Heaverlo, Major League baseball pitcher
  • Stevin John, known as "Blippi", YouTube creator, children's entertainer, and educator
  • John Brotherton, actor
  • Jon Kitna, National Football League player
  • Mark Lanegan, singer-songwriter, co-founder and lead singer of Screaming Trees band
  • Ron Magers, television news anchor
  • Mark Pickerel, singer-songwriter acoustic guitar percussionist, co-founder of Screaming Trees band
  • Brian Thompson, actor
  • Nick Zentner, a geology professor at Central Washington University, also known for online videos covering the geology of the Northwestern United States.
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