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Cle Elum, WA

In the spring of 1886 a Northern Pacific Railway station was named Clealum, meaning “swift water”, referring to the Cle Elum River. In 1908, Clealum was later altered to Cle Elum. The town was the birthplace of astronaut Dick Scobee, the commander of the Space Shuttle Challenger on the day of its explosion. Cle Elum was the first to have ‘organized’ skiing west of Denver, Colorado. Starting in 1921, 100–400 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.

Quick Facts

  • City Established: 1902
  • Population Size: 1,872
  • Fun Fact: Douglas Albert Munro, the first and only member of the U.S. Coast Guard to receive the Medal of Honor, was from Cle Elum.


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