Bavarian Village Leavenworth is a true German style town, located in the heart of the Pacific Northwest. And the heart of the fun is downtown in the Bavarian Village. This is where the shops are bustling, the restaurants are busy and the activities originate. You can stroll the town park and participate in any of the 17 major festivals each year.
The village is just two blocks from the river and wonderful walking paths on Blackbird Island. You can venture out to the Audubon society, the Icicle fish hatchery or up the valley to mountain hiking paths.
But the best part of the village is that you can get away from city life. Enjoy the old world feel of this village with all the new world comforts. You will find everything you could ever want. From the hat shops to soap shops and the international cuisine you will forget what state you are in. Stay right in the heart of downtown or travel a little further out to enjoy the scenery.
Leavenworth is Blessed with over 300 days of sunshine annually. Leavenworth is your perfect vacation destination. Year round festivals, world class recreation, international art, spectacular scenery and over 90 plus specialty shops are just part of what makes Leavenworth so special. From Oktoberfest and Christkindlmarkt, summer golfing and elegant spas, Leavenworth has something for everyone. Make your vacation a special memory wrapped in forest green and toasted in the finest of Bavarian traditions. Come and discover for yourself what makes Leavenworth so special…
HISTORY: Long before white settlers arrived into the American West, the Wenatchi Indians inhabited the Valley from Steven’s Pass to the Columbia River and into the present-day city of Wenatchee. They were joined in the early 1800’s by mountain men who trapped and explored the region. By mid 1800’s German and Swiss homesteaders were settling in the area. By the end of the century the Indians were all but gone.
Leavenworth, originally known as Icicle, developed informally around a small group of homesteaders who settled in 1885 where the Wenatchee and Icicle Rivers meet in the Leavenworth Valley. Known as Icicle Flats, it was originally the site of a Native American salmon fishery.
THE RAILROAD: The Great Northern Railroad began laying track up the Wenatchee Valley in 1892 along what is now Highway 2. One year later they crossed the Cascade Mountain range at Steven’s Pass. Railroad history describes the construction as tough and dangerous. After completing the nearly impossible rail bed, Great Northern selected Leavenworth as their division headquarters and constructed a major switchyard there. This made Leavenworth an important rail head. The formal town was laid out in 1893 by the Okanogan Investment Company, and named for its president Captain Charles Leavenworth.
The population at this time was around 700 hearty souls. A small dam was constructed in 1904 at the south edge of town on the Wenatchee River to form a mill pond, and the Lamb-Davis Lumber Company built a large sawmill. In the early 1900’s the first fruit trees were planted, and miles of irrigation canals were constructed developing Leavenworth’s agricultural base. Logging and fruit agriculture are still important industries today. The town was officially incorporated in April 1906.
A CHANGE IN TIMES: The triple-industry economy was very prosperous, and Leavenworth became a boom town with a questionable reputation. Its population rose to around 5,500 (today it’s about 2,100) and it boasted numerous brothels, and even more saloons. However, the good fortune crashed as fast as the stock market. In the 1920s the two biggest sources of revenue disappeared almost overnight.
The sawmill closed and the lumber company relocated to a more profitable region. The Great Northern Railroad moved its headquarters to Wenatchee, and rerouted the rail line from the steep and dangerous Tumwater Canyon to the Chumstick Valley, by-passing Leavenworth. With the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression of the 1930’s, followed by the war years, Leavenworth’s economy spiraled downward. These hard times plagued Leavenworth through the 1940s and 1950s. With little hope of an economic rebound, stores were closing and people were leaving as there were few job opportunities. However, in 1962 community leaders approached the University Of Washington Bureau Of Community Development looking for ways to save the town.
Out of this work came the idea to use the towns’ beautiful natural surroundings and a Bavarian theme to attract visitors to the area. Two of the leaders instrumental in this effort were Pauline and Owen Watson, longtime residents of Leavenworth who owned and operated Alpine Electric. In 1965 the decision was made by key business owners to adopt the Bavarian theme and remodel their buildings.
Pauline created sketches of some of the storefronts and presented these ideas to other business owners. An agreement was reached and Project Alpine was formed to guide the Bavarianization of Leavenworth, with Pauline serving as chairperson for over ten years. In the summer of 1965, Alpine Electric was the first building to be remodeled into Alpine Electric and the Alpen Haus Gift Shoppe.
The town underwent an amazing transformation. The first six buildings were remodeled in 1965 and 1966, and the others soon followed. Autumn Leaf Festival and the Christmas Lighting were introduced in the mid 1960’s, and the Maifest in 1971. Art in the Park and Amberleaf Theater began soon after. Today visitors from around the world visit Leavenworth to enjoy events such as Oktoberfest. Leavenworth enjoys sharing its heritage in European style shops or gourmet ethnic restaurants.
Today Leavenworth is a premier American destination for families and individuals seeking a unique alpine vacation experience among some of the West’s friendliest people. Willkommen!
About WashingtonThe Evergreen State lives up to its name. In Western Washington vast forest once covered most everything and even today new visitors are sometimes stunned by the ever present green that can be found in the forests of course, but also in the vegetation that seems to spring up everywhere.
Much maligned as a rainy place, most areas of the state such as Seattle actually get less rain than New York City, Chicago and Florida. And in Eastern Washington vast stretches of high plateau and vast agricultural areas are actually hot and bright in summer and have a great many days of sun even in winter.
CASCADE MOUNTAINS: Running North-South and splitting the state in half are the Cascade Mountains. Sometimes forgotten in comparison to the Montana, Idaho and Colorado Rocky mountains, the Cascades are vast and sheer. Mt Saint Helens eruption in 1980 brought attention to the area but there are a dozen other major mountain climbing areas including Mt. Rainer and Mt Adams. All are within easy driving distance of major cities and international airports.
At the Northern End of Washington State’s Cascades is Mt. Baker, birthplace of snow boarding and still one of the snowiest ski areas in the world. Just to the south is the North Cascades Wilderness area which boasts one of America’s most scenic roads. So precipitous, in fact, that it closes in winter due to immense snow falls.
EASTERN WASHINGTON: From the Eastern Slopes of the Cascades spreads the sprawling areas of Eastern Washington. On the south it is bordered by the Columbia River gorge how to numerous dams and world famous wind surfing. Above that lay the deep rich fields and wine grape vineyards of the Yakima Valley which compares in longitude and composition of renowned French growing areas.
The Columbia river flows north through the middle of Eastern Washington State where dams have created long and winding lakes surrounded by campgrounds and recreational areas. North Central Washington is home to the Replica Bavarian Village of Leavenworth which boasts over four million visitors per year, as well as to Lake Chelan a 50 mile long natural lake one of the cleanest in the United States. Its gorge – if it were emptied of water – would be deeper than the Grand Canyon. North of that can be found the Wild West town of Winthrop Washington where real live cowboys ride the ranges during hot summers and frigid white winters.
On the border shared with Idaho and about central North to South, lays the Inland Empire city of Spokane headquarters to industry and agricultural activities. To the south likes the Palouse region known as the bread basket of the world because it produces more grain per acre than anywhere else.
In short, the Evergreen state is a very diverse place full of recreational activities like boating, fishing, water sports, professional sports arenas, high class arts organizations and so much to do you’ll need a month just to begin to see much of it.