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Similar to Seattle, Leavenworth has a colorful past, not always idyllic

M. Elaine Wilson

While the history of Leavenworth dates back to the mid 1800’s, the town itself was not named and built until 1892 when the first railroad route was constructed across Stevens Pass by the Great Northern Railway Company (GNRC). Up until the completion of construction in 1893, industry consisted primarily of mining operations. Native populations also found sustenance in hunting, gathering and fishing activities. But after the railroad, a connection was established between other areas of the state, to the west and to the east. Things changed big time.

Leavenworth became a hub. In 1903 the area’s first saw mill was built and timber flourished as the location’s second largest industry. No doubt times became very interesting, especially as other byproducts of development were introduced and law enforcement was virtually absent until around 1906. There was a school, a general store and an opera house. There were also saloons and brothels, though not much mention about the seamstress population.

Sadly, for logistical and other reasons the railroad made a decision to pull out of the area in 1925. In a year the timber industry followed, so depression and hard times became a constant for an extended period, estimated at around 30 years. Since then, Leavenworth has largely reinvented itself, owing to the love, foresight and hard work of residents. Leavenworth now has a popular alpine theme, recreational activities and events and it is thriving. Next weekend on March 1st, the area will host the Bomber Banked Slolam, Events Calendar | Visit Leavenworth Washington, USA.

Seattle is no less colorful and resourceful. New residents should be sure to avail themselves of the underground tour, which is guided and entertaining UNDERGROUND TOUR. Also, for an irreverent, informative and funny history of Seattle, be sure to pick up the book Sons of the Profits, Sons of the Profits: There's No Business Like Grow Business. The Seattle Story, 1851-1901 by William Speidel.