The Windrow Story

Lodge 1102
Photo Courtesy of the Ellensburg Public Library

Lodge 1102

The Roaring 20's were a decade of prosperity, innovation, and celebration across the nation, and Washington State was no different. In 1923, Ellensburg residents and members of the newly formed Lodge 1102 unveiled the new Grand Lodge at 5th and Main in downtown Ellensburg. Akin to the New York skyscrapers of the era, the steel beams and riveted trusses were the framework of the building, with a brick façade lining the classic exterior. A natural elegance accompanied the space with a second-floor grand ballroom, inviting 12-foot-tall windows for natural light and connection to bustling Main Street, adorned with a 3-foot-stained glass star embedded in the ceiling.

For the next 80 years, this building served as the gathering place for the entire Kittitas Valley and beyond. If you were celebrating a wedding, a birthday, an anniversary, or any other event, it was likely you would end up at the Elks Building.
Elks Lodge
Photo Courtesy of the Ellensburg Public Library

Luck and Legacy

At the turn of the 21st Century, membership in fraternal organizations began to fade, and activities at the building started to diminish. In turn, the building began to suffer from deferred maintenance and neglect. Soon, the celebrated space was instead known in town as the "old, condemned" Elks Lodge. Faced with a tough decision, the members of Lodge 1102 finally decided to sell the building and its legacy as the gathering point of the valley seemed over.

When a property developer applied for a demolition permit to tear down the structure, an avid historical board, and passionate community members pointed out that the building sits next to Wilson Creek. While not well-known, the creek winds its way directly through the town, the university, and modern roadways as one of the dozens of waterways flowing into the Yakima River. The Elks Lodge was saved by luck and legacy to prevent damage to the river and its encompassing ecosystems.
Local Pride Rodeo
Photo Courtesy of the Ellensburg Public Library

Local Pride

During this time of uncertainty and newly granted opportunity for the 1920s structure, the building caught the eye of Rory Turner, a historic building specialist from Wenatchee who remembered it fondly from tending bar there in 1976. While others were ready to demolish it, Rory took an optimistic view of its potential and developed a vision to bring it back to its previous grandeur. Rolling up his sleeves with the hard work and financial support of family and friends, the building was carefully restored in 2016. Awards were received for Outstanding Historic Building Rehabilitation and Excellence on Main. Happy tenants replaced the dust and neglect, renewed local pride, and life was brought back to the grand ballroom.
Welcome to Historic Downtown Ellensburg

Hotel Windrow

With the support of the Ellensburg Downtown Association and a promising feasibility study, a “dream team” was assembled consisting of Rory, Sam Buckingham, a hospitality construction specialist from Redmond, Kurt Jensen, a longtime hotel architect also from Redmond, and Paul Jinneman, a veteran hotel consultant and hotel owner from neighboring Leavenworth.

After careful planning, this kismet group broke ground in July 2018 on a boutique hotel known as Hotel Windrow. Much like the original lodge, Hotel Windrow was to be no ordinary hotel. It contained a grand staircase from the hotel lobby connecting to the historic Elks Grand Ballroom and a rooftop deck that serves as a perch overlooking bustling Main Street, with spectacular views of downtown Ellensburg and the Kittitas Valley. Housing 59 guest rooms with modern amenities and comforts, meeting rooms, and places for guests to gather again at the heart of the space.
Hotel Windrow

Heart of Downtown

With a new hotel came celebrations of tradition. The property's name is a nod to our town's original hay farmers and founders. Central Washington hay farmers labor over fields throughout the growing season, then cut their crops into long "windrows" laid down perpendicular to the wind to dry. These rows force the hay into a period of "rest." Like a windrow, we, too, need crucial times of rest. Hotel Windrow's mission, inspired by its namesake, is to provide a "critical time of rest" with comfortable guest rooms and relaxed gathering spaces. 

Hotel Windrow opened in January 2020, and the group was committed to the hotel's long-term success and the surrounding community of downtown Ellensburg. Today, Hotel Windrow and the Elks Building once again stand as the heart of downtown Ellensburg, where future generations once again celebrate their most memorable occasions with the full expectation that will be the case for at least another 100 years.

You make the time, and we’ll help you rest.