Cle Elum (KLEE-ell-UM, a Native American name meaning Swift Water) was settled in 1870 by Thomas L. Gamble, but growth was slow until geologists working for the Northern Pacific Railroad discovered coal in 1884.
A forest fire in the late 1880s wiped out a large part of the mining town, but additional coal veins discovered in 1889 gave Cle Elum four quite prosperous years. Today the town is a jumping-off point for hiking, fishing, and other recreational activities in the Wenatchee National Forest.
Getting Cle Elum
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition