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When the City of Wenatchee was organized in 1893, it was part of Kittitas County. The Washington State Legislature of 1899 established the present boundaries of Chelan County. The cities of Wenatchee and Chelan sparred with each other regarding the location of the county seat. Judge Thomas Burke of Seattle, who had platted the town site of Wenatchee, sold the Clark Hotel for one dollar to Chelan County in 1900 with the understanding that Wenatchee would be the county seat and use the hotel as a courthouse. The Clark Hotel had been constructed at 238 S. Wenatchee Avenue in 1893. People from Chelan were given top county jobs as part of the deal. About the same time, a jail was built behind the courthouse. It is a two story brick building still standing. The courthouse and jail were joined by a bridge. These buildings were vacated in 1924 after the courthouse on the corner of Orondo and Washington Streets was completed. The old courthouse and jail were sold to John Doneen for $54,000. Doneen converted the courthouse into a hotel again and remodeled the jail into an annex. The Pybus Company removed toe cells which were installed in the Okanogan County jail. In the late thirties the upper floor of the hotel was removed. The building has since been used as a service station and garage.


  • Photo of the first Chelan County Court House as the Clark Hotel.
  • Chelan County officials and employees standing in front of the Chelan County Courthouse on Wenatchee Avenue, June 7th, 1924.  Moved to the new Chelan County Courthouse on June 9th, 1924.   Front row: L. D. Brown, State Examiner; Rachel McCroskey; Neva Martin (married name, Coppess); Helen Merriam (married name, Smith); Madge Cushing; E. C. Bowersox; J. H. (Jake) Miller; R. A. (Dick) Scheble; Fern Armstrong (married name, Collis); W. F. Buttles; Jack Dietch.   Second Row: Bill Luce; A. V. Shephard; Mrs. E. C. Bowersox; Grace McElhoe; Kathleen Beggs; Bessie Lewis (Mrs. E. G. Spencer); ?Chas. E. Buttles?; John Godfrey; Roy Larson; E. G. Spencer.   Third Row: Irene Trexler (married name, Jensen); Pearl Hall; Amy Johnson (married name, Stach); Mae Wanka; W. O. Tillman; unknown.   Four Row: Joe Parks; Howard Honner.
  • An 1893 black and white photo; construction of the brick Clark Hotel that was to become the first Courthouse for Chelan County
  • Drawing of the First Chelan County Courthouse built in 1893 as the Clark Hotel.

When the City of Wenatchee was organized in 1893, it was part of Kittitas County. The Washington State Legislature of 1899 established the present boundaries of Chelan County.


The cities of Wenatchee and Chelan sparred with each other regarding the location of the county seat. Judge Thomas Burke of Seattle, who had platted the town site of Wenatchee, sold the Clark Hotel for one dollar to Chelan County in 1900 with the understanding that Wenatchee would be the county seat and use the hotel as a courthouse. The Clark Hotel had been constructed at 238 S. Wenatchee Avenue in 1893. People from Chelan were given top county jobs as part of the deal.


About the same time, a jail was built behind the courthouse. It is a two story brick building still standing. The courthouse and jail were joined by a bridge. These buildings were vacated in 1924 after the courthouse on the corner of Orondo and Washington Streets was completed. The old courthouse and jail were sold to John Doneen for $54,000. Doneen converted the courthouse into a hotel again and remodeled the jail into an annex. The Pybus Company removed toe cells which were installed in the Okanogan County jail.


In the late thirties the upper floor of the hotel was removed. The building has since been used as a service station and garage.

Polk Directories. Wenatchee, WA. 1907-2006.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center Photography Collection # 90-57-73 Simmer Studio #1780

Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center Photography Collection # 94-31-5

Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center Collection # 89-36-7