The City of Ellensburg was first incorporated on November 26, 1883 under a territorial act effective January 1, 1884. Settler William Bud Wilson had the first claim and built the first log cabin in 1868 where Ellensburg now stands.
Bank Saloon Building
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.
Ben Snipes Bank
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.
BF Reed Building
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.
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.
Edward P. Cadwell, who had a hand in several other buildings and businesses in town, constructed this unique building with horseshoe shaped windows. In 1974, the Kittitas County Historical Society purchased the building. A record of occupation for the Cadwell Building’s second floor remains elusive; however, it does offer an unsubstantiated rumor of an upper level house of ill repute.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Originally constructed by John B. Fogarty from Springfield, Illinois, this building was completed in October of 1889. The following spring Fogarty built an identical building right next door to this one. However, in the 1930s the twin was remodeled and became the old Art Deco theater we see today.
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.
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.
Geiger Woods Building
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.
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.
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.
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.
Main Street Market Building
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.
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.