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Leavenworth is a fascinating little town. The first settlers in 1885 came here to mine, farm, raise livestock and to log. A few years later, in 1892, the Great Northern Railroad was finished and the line came to Leavenworth via Stevens Pass. The railroad brought immense growth and the town was incorporated in 1906. The growth did not last very long, however, and in the 1920's the sawmill closed and the railroad was rerouted and it by-passed Leavenworth. The following years, with the Great Depression and the wars, were very tough on the community.
In 1962, several residents went to the University of Washington's Bureau of Community Development for assistance. The town was studied for a year and the result was the development of the Bavarian theme. The residents traveled to Europe to be sure their "new" town would be as authentic as possible. They mortgaged everything to make this endeavor work. There was no state or federal money to help, so it was a true community effort.
Old and new buildings alike are required by city ordinances to meet appearance codes to fit with the Bavaian theme. The townspeople and shopowners have taken this theme to heart, and now the entire town is like being in a Bavarian Village in Europe. There are many inns and pensions to stay at for your visit, and most restaurants feature German and/or Austrian foods. The town has many festivals each year, and many are focused on life in Bavaria.