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Leavenworth, Washington is a charming Bavarian Village known for delightful specialty shops, numerous choices for cozy accommodations, and an active calendar offering a year-round schedule of festivals, music and live theater. Perhaps the most popular of the events is the Christmas Lighting and Ice Fest. The quaint, Bavarian theme is very at home against the breathtaking backdrop of Washington State's steep, snowy Cascade Mountains soaring thousands of feet above.
As you wander past the Bavarian architecture, imbibe the Germanic fare and browse through the many inviting specialty shops, you are enjoying the fruits of a well-laid plan.
Leavenworth is the inspiring story of a Washington town that reinvented itself. With the loss of its railway and timber industries, Leavenworth was a town in slow decline. In the early 1960s, it took the brave and determined decision to invest in tourism for its future.
Inspired by the resemblance of the surrounding countryside to Bavarian Germany, with its mountain wilderness and rolling meadows, Leavenworth was remodeled as a Bavarian alpine village. Such was the town's commitment to the project that the Bavarian theme was carefully researched, architects were hired (notably Heintz Ulbricht), building codes were changed and townspeople took to learning about the German culture.
Der Markt Platz (Front and 8th streets) has daily showings of a 30-minute film which tells this story. Projekt Bayern continues to develop the Bavarian vision. Such is the success of the project that nowadays not just tourists are attracted to the area, but also many people of direct German, Austrian and Norwegian descent have been drawn to Leavenworth as their new home. The town now boasts a German language newspaper, the Pazifische Rundschau.
Leavenworth, originally known as Icicle, was renamed after Captain Charles Leavenworth, president of the Okanagon Investment Company (one of the first commercial developers in this area of Washington), and a stockholder in the Great Northern Railway.
Population: 2,995; Main Industries: Tourism
Best selection of books on the Northwest.
Miracle Town: Creating America's Bavarian Village in Leavenworth, Washington by Ted Price. The story of how this economically depressed mountain logging town became a beautiful and prosperous Bavarian village. Visitors go to enjoy the architecture, festivals, music, dance, recreation activities, authentic food its very hospitable people. Order now...
Leavenworth (Images of America Series) by Rose Kinney-Holck and Upper Valley Museum at Leavenworth. Leavenworth was once known as Icicle. The little boomtown in the Cascades went bust, but was reinvented by its residents in the early 1960s with a Bavarian theme. Order now...
Our Washington by George Ostertag and Rhonda Ostertag. This book of photographs highlights every aspect of Washington's beauty including the mountains, lush rainforests, the frontier heritage as well as the urban Seattle and Spokane. Order now...
Wild Roads Washington: 80 Scenic Drives to Camping, Hiking Trails, and Adventures by Seabury Blair Jr. This adventure guidebook details the forest roads of Washington with information on hikes off each route as well as driving routes that provide scenic vistas almost as good as those reached by foot. Order now...
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