Liberty Historic District, Route 2,Cle Elum, Liberty, Kittitas County, WA
Photo Caption Pages
Cle Elum, Liberty, WA
Find maps of Liberty, WA
Documentation compiled after 1933.
Survey number HABS WA-163
Unprocessed field note material exists for this structure (FN-30).
Significance: The "Walla Wall Union," October 18, 1873, reported a gold strike in the mountains north of the Kittitas Valley. "The Union" continued to report the progress of the 40 or more men wintering at the discovery area. This fall date establishes the beginning of continuous habitation of the Swauk Mining District which encompasses Swauk Creek, Williams Creek and tributaries. The present townsite of Liberty was originally known as Williams Creek, becoming Meaghersville in 1897 and finally Liberty in 1912 at the advent of the area post offices' consolidation at the Meaghersville site. Early information of the area, claims, and mining activities, are sketchy due to subsequent fires in Yakima and Ellensburg which destroyed many important records. In 1891, two years after Washington became a state, John A. Shoudy (Ellensburg's founder) bought a claim from "Nez" Jensen and laid out a townsite, surveying lots for homes and businesses. Ground was even set aside for a school and a community hall. The miners built the community hall in 1892 and the school in 1895. Somehow, J.K. Morrell acquired this townsite, but by 1897 T.F. Meagher had jumped the townsite claim and won his case in court, renaming the townsite Meaghersville. By 1907 there were numerous cabins built on the mining claims in the Swauk area when the Wenatchee National Forest which surrounds Liberty was created. Regardless of the community's name it has been the economic center of the Swauk Mining District; boasting stores, hotels, a barbershop, taxidermy, gas station, a base for logging companies, a railroad spur into the Northern Pacific main line at the Yakima River, a sawmill, community hall and a doctor. The Liberty school was open from 1895 until 1939 when it was consolidated with the Ole Elum District. From 1895 to 1960, the citizens voted at their own polling place and from 1912 to 1951 the town had a U.S. Post Office. In its prime the community had about 200 residents.
Cities & Towns
Historic American Buildings Survey (Library of Congress)
1. EAST HALF OF TOWNSITE, TAKEN FROM RIDGE SOUTH OF TOWN
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