The area, which lies at approximately the geographic center of Washington, had long been a meeting place for Native Peoples. They held an annual gathering there each fall.
The first white settler was outlaw William Wilson, who arrived in 1867. Wilson built a small cabin which eventually became the trading post known as Robber's Roost. He led a band of Natives and controlled the Kittitas Valley during the 1860s. Anyone wishing to cross the Valley was obliged to pay Wilson and his followers a substantial toll.
Ellensburg is the county seat of Kittitas County, and serves as a banking, trade, and transportation hub for the region’s many farmers and cattle ranchers.