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Leavenworth History

Leavenworth Early 1900s Leavenworth 1950s Leavenworth Now


The people of Leavenworth had always worked together. Many volunteers organized and presented Impressive jumping tournaments at the local Ski Hill, built City Park and collected pennies for hospitals  and non-profit groups.

In 1960 there were committees to study aspects of Leavenworth life such as churches, youth groups, agriculture, industry, beautification, finances and tourism. The project was called LIFE---Leavenworth Improvement For Everyone. The community recognized the need for economic revitalization. Finally, the Vesta Junior Women's Club contacted the University of Washington for guidance.

From united efforts of the townspeople, economic miracles began to happen from the creation of the Bavarian Village - the town earned $10,000 first place award from Sears Foundation's Community Improvement program. Lavern Peterson purchased the Chickamin Hotel (Edelweiss Hotel) and remodeled it Bavarian style. Owen and Pauline Watson purchased an empty building on Front Street (Alpen Haus) and set up an electrician shop and decided on the Bavarian look. These merchants set up a town meeting  and convinced others to remodel in the Bavarian theme. From much enthusiasm, Project Alpine was born.

German-born architect Heinz Ulbricht moved to Leavenworth and helped design most of the buildings; makeovers: Hoelgaards Bakery, Susswaren Candy Shop and the Tannenbaum Building. Next came Larson's Drug Store (Village Pharmacy) and Vern Herritt's building, now Der Sportsmann and Hotel Europa.

Downtown entertainment was provided on the back of an orchard trailer. The first Art in the Park was shown in 1966, organized by Archie Marlin Sr. Christmas Lighting Festival started in 1966 and the Maifest followed a few years later.

According to the Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce, over 1.2 million people visit our Bavarian Village each year. The Leavenworth community today is a unique mix of lifelong residents and newcomers, drawn to the mountains and a relaxed lifestyle. (Information provided by Bernice Taylor)

Leavenworth Webcam hosted by Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce

For a more complete history, photos, and video visit:

Leavenworth Real Estate Inc. | 509-423-7800 | Contact Us
894 US-2, Suite E - Leavenworth, WA 98826
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