Swiftwater Book Cover

The cover of the Northern Kittitas County Historical Society's new book about Cle Elum shows a group of travelers in front of Cle Elum's Reed Hotel in the very early 1900's when the main mode of transportation was horse power. 

A new book detailing information about Cle Elum’s first settlers and coal miners is available for purchase in Upper Kittitas County.

“Swiftwater, History of Cle Elum 1848-1955” was put together by the Northern Kittitas County Historical Society, and was released this month.

The 8 1/2-inch by 11-inch paperback book features 125 pages of Cle Elum history and photos. It is available for purchase for $25 through the Northern Kittitas County Historical Society and at the Northern Kittitas County Tribune.

The Northern Kittitas County Historical Society published the book to preserve local history and share it with those interested in learning about Cle Elum. Proceeds will be used for work on the Carpenter House.

“We just found people are really interested in learning local history,” Northern Kittitas County Historical Society secretary/treasurer Charlene Kauzlarich said. “We’re just at the right time for people to be hungry about history.”

Putting it together

This is the second book the Northern Kittitas County Historical Society has published. Last year the society released “Another Story” a book of stories Peter Fassero wrote about Cle Elum and the areas of Peoh Point, Swauk Teanaway, Roslyn, Liberty and Easton for the Northern Kittitas County Tribune. The book did well, so in January the historical society suggested doing another book, and Kauzlarich jumped on the opportunity to help put it together.

“I love doing stuff like that so I hopped on board and got it scanned and organized and did some research down at the paper,” she said.

The book is based off the 1955 Operation Cooperation study that was done for Cle Elum by a local history committee.

“We revived that old Operation Cooperation study and reformatted it and cleaned it up so far as pagination and organization,” Kauzlarich said. “We didn’t change the words or the writing, just made it easier to read … and we put that in the book. That’s the main part of the book.”

The book includes information about the names in the area, some of the first coal miners and early businesses in Cle Elum.

“It studies the original pioneers that came to the area,” Kauzlarich said. “To begin with the Indians had settled in this area and how a lot of the names from what we had in the area today came from the Indians and the first coal miners that came into the area.”

It also contains historic photos dating back to 1984, a drawing of the business locations in 1950 completed by Encompass Engineering, and three appendices that provide a study on the Prohibition Era in the Upper Kittitas County as well as historical and biographical sketches of Cle Elum businesses and people written by “The Cle Elum Echo” in 1909.

“We added a drawing of what the downtown looked like in 1950, as far as where the businesses were located,” Kauzlarich said. “It’s a street drawing, which I think will be very interesting to any researchers.”

Raising money

The book is a fundraiser for the Northern Kittitas County Historical Society, which is trying to raise money to paint the exterior of the Carpenter House. The cost of the paint job, is estimated to cost around $17,000. The color of the Carpenter House will remain the same.

“We’re doing a number of different things to fundraise,” Kauzlarich said. “We’ve written a lot of grant applications just here recently. … We hope through a combination of some local grant monies plus raising money from selling the book — plus hopefully some local organizations will contribute — that we’ll have enough money by next June that we can schedule with the painter to paint the exterior of the building.”

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