The nonprofit Historic Ellensburg group will conduct its annual awards celebration at 7 p.m. May 5 at the Northern Pacific Depot on the west end of Third Avenue, according to a news release from the group.

The awards honor local residents, businesses and other entities that have contributed to preserving Ellensburg’s legacy through restoration and continued use of historic structures, the release said.

In addition, this year Historic Ellensburg goes a step further and will give an exceptional lifetime achievement award to longtime Ellensburg residents Margaret and Colin Condit for their continual effort to highlight the importance and preservation of Ellensburg’s historic buildings, places and character.

Event organizers said all in the community are invited to attend, and that it is a family-friendly event with light refreshments for adults and children.


Colin and Margaret Condit arrived in town in 1965 as members of the college community. Almost immediately they purchased the David Ramsay house, now in the historic homes district, and set about maintaining and restoring the structure.

From 1991 to 1999, Colin Condit served on the Ellensburg Planning Commission and paid special attention to Ellensburg’s historic character.

The Condits were instrumental in founding Historic Ellensburg in 1999, and both have served as officers of the organization.

Colin Condit has worked particularly hard to assure the preservation of the Northern Pacific Depot, and Margaret Condit has been tireless in serving on various committees of Historic Ellensburg, the news release said.

The two also have served on Historic Ellensburg’s fundraising yard sale committee. Members of the committee are required to collect, store, organize and price a multitude of items whose sale raises funds for the organization’s various activities including public outreach and preservation projects.

“There is no better way to honor the Condits than by calling attention to the enterprise of those individuals who have restored and preserved the town’s historic buildings and character,” Historic Ellensburg officials said.

The honorees

The following Historic Ellensburg awards will be given out at the May 5 ceremonies:

Orin B. Castle Building

The restoration, remodeling and contemporary use of the Orin B. Castle Building, at Fourth Avenue and Main Street, has received much public attention in the past two years.

This corner store started life in the 1890s by selling liquor, both wholesale and retail. By 1904, Ola Peterson was operating the Reception Saloon at the site. He continued to do so until the Volstead Act prohibited the legal consumption and sale of alcoholic beverages. During this period, the upstairs rooms were rented out to railway workers and, at one time, to the bartender for the saloon.

In the 1920s and early 1930s, general merchandise was sold at the site, and during the later years of the Great Depression and World War II the building housed Yantis Furniture and Hardware.

After the war, a variety of proprietors catered to the horsemen and women of the region, and many local residents still remember the one who lasted the longest: George Mills established Mills Saddle ‘N’ Togs in the late 1950s and operated it until the late 1980s.

The model horse that graced the corner entrance was a familiar landmark.

By the early 1990s, the Children’s Activity Museum had taken over from Mills. The museum entertained children and their families for a decade and a half and provided playful color for this corner of Ellensburg’s downtown.

In 2009, the museum sold the property to Ross Anderson, a Seattle architect, who undertook a full-scale rehabilitation of the structure. Anderson’s project has added vim and vigor to downtown and has demonstrated what can be done with some of its underused buildings, the release said.

Norwood family home

This cottage on North Pine Street will be featured in a story in a coming edition of the Daily Record.

Peter Paris house, North Kittitas Street

This cottage on North Kittitas Street was occupied for a while by the man who built it. The property, one of the last to be developed on this block, changed hands frequently before T. R. Jacobson purchased it in 1906 and built a home.

By 1911, he was renting it to Flora Gady, listed in the city directory as a domestic. He sold the property in 1912. Cornelius Kelleher bought the house in 1919 and lived in it briefly.

Two decades later, at the end of the Great Depression, his son, James, occupied the home with his family. Thereafter, the house experienced a variety of owners and renters until Peter Paris bought it in 2010.

Paris possesses a passion for rehabilitating old structures, the release said. Some decades ago, he restored an 1895 farmhouse outside of Coupeville. Now he’s replaced the old asbestos shingles on the home with cedar ones and added an attractive porch that conforms to the structure’s proportions and corner bay.

East Fourth Avenue bungalow

This Arts and Crafts bungalow on East Fourth Avenue also started life as a rental. Built by Hiram Parrish in 1925, it was rented by Glenn King and his wife at the end of the 1920s. King was the manager of the Mint, a tobacco store on West Third Avenue.

During the Depression, Parrish sold the house to Gerald McNeil, who operated the Ellensburg Beverage Parlor. After World War II, Frank Strange, who operated the Star Shoe Repair on Pine Street, lived there with his wife for two decades. His son, Willis Strange, who sold sporting goods, inherited the house and sold it to Jan Bowen in 1980.

Bowen has rehabilitated the house to highlight its original design. Not only has she refreshed the exterior paint, she has rebuilt the porch foundation and has replaced a picture window with the double-hung ones in keeping with the arts and crafts style of the 1920s.

Third Avenue new construction

Donna Malek and Mark Holloway have shown the way to construct a new building that fits in with a remodeled, old one. From 1912 to 2009, their house on Third Avenue functioned as a duplex and a rental. For a long time, there was no driveway and, if parking were needed, it occurred at the back of the house in the alley. When the Holloways purchased the house in 2009, they turned it into a single residence and took advantage of a driveway carved out by the previous owner to construct a garage that looks as old as their house.


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