OpenRoad Driver Volume 13 Issue 1 - Page 20

20 » OpenRoad Driver We’re deep into Washington State on Stevens Pass, a picturesque highway that trails the often fierce whitewater of the Wenatchee River on one side and the behemoth Cascade Mountains on the other. It’s hardly a place you’d expect to run into a Bavarian-style city devoid of Bavarian roots. But there Leavenworth is, smack-dab in front of you: its architectural style speaking loud and clear of Europe, even if 90 percent of its citizens have never been there. But if Las Vegas can have Paris, then surely Leavenworth can have Bavaria. After all, it was Bavaria that saved this city from becoming just another ghost town with nothing but memories. architecture and attire, tourism would become the city’s new economy, saving it from dusty ruin. In the 1950s and 60s Leavenworth was in decay, its community bisected by political differences and economic ruin due to the re-routing of the railway and the consequent demise of the timber industry. The city was hovering on the brink of extinction when the idea of turning it into a Bavarian hamlet was first voiced. City planners hoped that by creating an Alpine village in Leavenworth, one complete with Bavarian food, festivals, horn blowing, Fast forward 50 years and the Bavarian village has become a phenomenal success story and a testament to the economic power of tourism. Whether by choice or coercion, every retailer has embraced the Bavarian style of architecture, from Starbucks to Safeway and McDonald’s. Signs on hotels bid travelers a “herzlicher wilkommen” and the Bavarian beer garden, with its live Latina music, is one of the city’s hottest spots. Real estate has shot up,