City of Cle Elum

About Cle Elum

About Cle Elum


The name Cle Elum, which means "swift water" in the language of the Kittitas Indians, was given to a river, a town, and also a beautiful tranquil lake created by the construction of the Cle Elum Dam. Cle Elum was officially incorporated on February 12, 1902. The town was the birthplace of astronaut Dick Scobee, the commander of the Space Shuttle Challenger on the day of its explosion. Headed by John Bresko, Cle Elum was the first to have 'organized' skiing west of Denver, Colorado. Starting in 1921, 100400 people would be on the ski hill every weekend through the winter. 1931 saw the largest crowd est. at 8,000 spectators for the ski jumping events. The depression ended the skiing and jumping events in 1934.


According to the 2000 United States Census Bureau, the city had a total area of 1.5 sq mi. However, as part of the Development Agreement with the Suncadia Master Planned Resort, the city annexed the Bullfrog Sub-Area, which were lands comprising an area of 1.72 sq mi. Therefore, as of 2006, the City of Cle Elum had a total land area of 3.22 sq mi. Also Cle Elum is a neighbor town to Roslyn Washington.


As of the census of 2000, there were 1,755 people, 792 households, and 448 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,182.8 people per square mile. There were 956 housing units at an average density of 644.3 square mile. The racial makeup of the city was 95.16% White, 0.51% African American, 1.03% Native American, 0.57% Asian, 0.85% from other races, and 1.88% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.36% of the population. There were 792 households out of which 27.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.1% were married couples living together, 10.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.4% were non-families. 35.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.22 and the average family size was 2.87. In the city the population was spread out with 23.2% under the age of 18, 7.6% from 18 to 24, 26.7% from 25 to 44, 24.6% from 45 to 64, and 17.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 93.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.3 males.

Points of Interest in Cle Elum

Cle Elum Telephone Museum

This museum was established in 1966 when Pacific Northwest Bell Telephone Company deeded its former office building to the Cle Elum Historical Society. At that time Cle Elum became the last in the telephone company's service area to be changed over from manual phone service to automatic dialing.

Carpenter House Museum

A step over the threshold of the Carpenter House is a step into the past. This marvelous 1914 mansion, with its spacious rooms, tiny alcoves and third-floor ballroom, holds the story of Cle Elum's first successful banker and his family. High Country Artists shares this historic house, and its art displays provide visitors an added experience.

The Coal Mines Trail

Following an abandoned mining railway easement, this spectacular trail passes several historic mining sites as it makes its way along Crystal Creek and up to Roslyn, WA. This generous walking path (former railway bed) has a gentle grade that is suitable for almost all hikers, walkers and bikers.