About This Place
Ritzville is a city in Adams County, Washington, United States. The population was 1,673 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Adams County.
The first settler in what would become Ritzville was William McKay in 1880. The town would be named after Philip Ritz, who had settled in the area two years earlier. By December 1880, Ritzville's town-site had been platted by John W. Sprague on behalf of his company, The Northern Pacific Railway. In 1881, McKay built the first house on the townsite. The Northern Pacific grade was under construction in the vicinity and McKay's home was used as a makeshift hotel for the workers and associated transients.
With the railroad came a new wave of settlers to the area. In the summer of 1881, McKay erected the first store and the railroad built a depot nearby, which also served as a hotel, theater and meeting hall. At that time the fledgeling village had a population of around 50 and the school consisted of a lean-to against a house. The town's water supply was the railroad tank because it was not thought that water could be found in the ground. The first religious services were held in Adams County in Ritzville in April 1882 at the McKay Home and the First Congregational Church was soon organized, a church would be built in 1885. The post office was established in 1883 by J.L. Johnson of Walla Walla who also purchased McKay's store. Soon afterwards, many more businesses would set up shop in town. As the 1880s wore on, the town was beginning to realize its position as a major wheat shipping point in the Big Bend Country and it continued to grow.