LEAVENWORTH'S TRANSFORMATION
INTO AMERICA'S BAVARIAN VILLAGE

A MIRACLE OF GIVING
INVOLVING MANY ORDINARY PEOPLE


This selection of before-and-after photographs represents only the architectural transformation of Leavenworth. To see and learn about many other aspects of Bavarian Leavenworth, see panel below.
Leavenworth's self-help transformation - an inspiration to many small towns in the U.S. and abroad - to all those who seek to improve their community.




Early 1900s

Leavenworth 1950s

Leavenworth 2009

Proposed future


Bavarian Leavenworth, Washington
Table of Contents
Click on section to be viewed


1. Video Introduction "A Miracle of Giving" (5 Minutes)
     (Narrated by John Miller)

2. Video: Leavenworth's Photographic History (7 minutes)
    (Narrated by John Miller)

3. Video: Leavenworth - Village of Inspiration (30 minutes)
    (Narrated by Richard Barrington)

4. Front Street Before Remodeling (1964)

5. Introduction of Bavarian Theme

6. Four Seasonal Events

7. Price and Rodgers University of Washington Libraries, Special
Collections

8. Ordering Miracle Town book and DVD









Below are pictures taken by photographer Walt Rembold of Leavenworth's Front Street in 1964 before buildings were remodeled with Bavarian theme.








LEAVENWORTH, WASHINGTON

TED PRICE AND BOB RODGERS
INTRODUCE BAVARIAN THEME TO THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST
IN 1960 - THEN SPEARHEAD THE TRANSFORMATION
OF LEAVENWORTH 5 YEARS LATER


"Leavenworth, that Bavaria-inspired jewel of Washington State's Cascade Mountains . .."   Seattle Post Intelligencer
The Bavarian theme was the inspiration of Bob Rodgers. Born in Seattle in 1923, Bob served in the US Army during World War II. When stationed in Bavaria, he became so fascinated with the architecture, music and dress, that he returned in 1955 to enjoy its culture.   Later, he and his partner Ted Price became the "Johnny Appleseeds" who spurred the transformation of Leavenworth into a Bavarian village.

  Bob Rodgers

Ted Price was born in Portland, Oregon in 1923, and served in the US Marine Corps during World War II.  Afterwards he became a representative of Pfizer Laboratories, a job that introduced him to physicians and pharmacists throughout  upper Washington State, including the town of Leavenworth.  Ted proved to be the visionary in introducing many Bavarian projects, activities and events in the Leavenworth community.

Ted Price
Bob and Ted hiking in the
Cascade Mountains near Leavenworth

In 1960 the partners purchased the Coles Corner Cafe near Leavenworth.  Bob pushed for a Bavarian theme when they remodeled the restaurant, and he felt they could bring the spirit and beauty of Bavarian culture to their customers.  They renamed the restaurant The Squirrel Tree and incorporated many Bavarian features, including costumes, music, flowers, Christmas lighting, and decorative architectural elements. The restaurant was an immediate success, so in 1961 they built The Squirrel Tree Chalet Motel, the first Bavarian-style structure in the Pacific Northwest.

Four years later, their experiences at The Squirrel Tree proved to be the pilot project in transforming Leavenworth into a Old Bavarian village.

A surprise hit at The Squirrel Tree were the wild bears that visited the restaurant for scraps.



Our cook, Penny Ells, and Ole George


Ted and Bob next planned to create an authentic Old Bavarian Village adjoining the restaurant and motel, but this undertaking proved unfeasible. Undaunted, Ted became active in the affairs of nearby Leavenworth, then suffering a severe economic depression. To save their town, under the guidance of the University of Washington, the Leavenworth townspeople had undertaken an extensive self-help study project, called LIFE—Leavenworth Improvement For Everyone. Ted joined with others and, in 1963, he proposed and became chairman of, the LIFE Tourism Committee.  For more information on Project LIFE, click here. The University of Washington had never considered tourism as a committee, but they agreed to endorse his committee.

Ted soon realized Leavenworth could become the Old Bavarian Village he'd envisioned. With its soaring mountains and white water river  just a stone's throw from downtown, he believed Leavenworth could be transformed into a splendid, authentic Bavarian village, one that would attract tourists from all over the world, and become a major tourist destination in the Pacific Northwest.

The odds against fulfilling this "pipe dream" were very great indeed. The town's financial base disappeared about the time of the Great Depression; Leavenworth had become a welfare town; and the townspeople were bitterly embroiled in a controversy over building a new high school (the state had condemned the old one). To make matters worse for Ted and Bob, they were outsiders whose motives were suspect to many.

Major remodeling of Leavenworth meant most building owners would have to borrow money, without their being able to provide much security.  There wasn't any professional help, nor were government funds available.  Most owners would have to make severe sacrifices and risk everything.

Longtime resident Pauline Watson and Bob Rodgers and Ted Price launched Project Alpine, the united effort of seven building owners—LaVerne Peterson, Vern and Ann Herrett, Owen and Pauline Watson, and Ted Price and Bob Rodgers. What these pioneers shared foremost was faith in the unknown and a spirited commitment to carry the project through. Bavarian Leavenworth as seen today is truly a miracle town.

Though often on the verge of bankruptcy, Price and Rodgers purchased dilapidated buildings in the downtown area. They remodeled three buildings, then opened several businesses. 

Here are before and after pictures of some of the first buildings to be remodeled in Leavenworth:                                                                         

                    Before       
                    After


Price and Rodgers

Tannenbaum Building
First building to be remodeled inside and out, plus a completely new roof and glockenspiel clock.








Price and Rodgers

Danish Bakery Building






Pauline & Owen Watson
Alpine Electric & Alpine Gifts Building




LaVerne Peterson
Edelweiss Hotel
        &
Vern and Ann Herrett
Remodeled adjoining two buildings


1977 change in Leavenworth building code


Years later, in February 1977, the partners remodeled the Corner Supply Hardware Store, and created what is still today a showplace on Front Street. It featured the Cafe Christa, Kris Kringle Christmas Shop, the Yum Yum Tree Candy Shop, and der Markt Platz gift shop. A major problem for authenticity was the restrictive code for a maximum 4-foot overhang of roofs and balconies. The partners pressured the City Council for changes in the code to allow for authentic Bavarian roofs, balconies, etc. To accomplish this the utility poles were removed and telephone and power lines were placed underground.



Price and Rodgers
der Markt Platz Gift Shop

Before


After



Click the play button below to see Pauline Watson co-chair Project Alpine from the film: Miracle Town produce by In Touch Media Entertainment, Munich



Four Seasonal Events



Rodgers, Price and others initiated four seasonal events —the Autumn Leaf Festival, Christmas Lighting, Mai Fest, and Art In The Park. In 1965, and again in 1971, Ted drew up plans for the town's frontage on the Wenatchee River.  He saw the project through financially and in other ways. This became the Leavenworth Waterfront Park.



Autumn Leaf Festival

Christmas Lighting

Mai Fest

Art In The Park


                    1965 Park Plan



      Leavenworth Waterfront Park

         1971 Park Plan


"Here, in the very heart of the state, travelers headed East through the narrow passes of the Cascade Mountains abruptly leave behind the Pacific Northwest of Lewis and Clark and enter the Bavaria of two gay pioneers, Price and Rodgers. "
Emily Green, The Los Angeles Times
(March 11, 2003-Page l. Col.l, and Page A 16)


THE PRICE AND RODGERS
LEAVENWORTH HISTORICAL COLLECTION

University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections

         The most complete collection of Leavenworth's Bavarian transformation—photographs, slides, videotapes, audiotapes and films; newspapers; architectural plans; maps; reports; and correspondence—many items on DVD or CD.  Features nearly 50 first-person DVD, video and audio interviews with the pioneers of the town's transformation, as well as the oral history of Ted Price.


For information: E-mail: speccoll@u-washington.edu








MIRACLE TOWN—The Book
(1997) 
                  
Recollections by Ted Price, As Told to John Miller  
                    
         Ted Price, visionary of Leavenworth's transformation, tells the complete story of how this economically depressed mountain logging town became a beautiful and prosperous Bavarian village. Year after year, over two million visitors come to enjoy its Old World architecture, seasonal festivals, music, dance, recreation activities, the authentic food, the beautiful Waterfront Park promenade—and its very hospitable people.


 ISBN 0-9651206-0-0    187 pages. Over 250 color and black-and-white photographs.    
Paperback $ 19.95


To order the book online from the Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce Click here.
or call (509) 548-5807









62 minutes.   DVD $19.95, VHS $11.95

To order the DVD online from the Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce Click here.
or call (509) 548-5807


                                                                                                                                                                       
      


Future developments:

We will be adding to this web page so make sure to check back.

To contact Ted Price write: Ted Price, 1701 Broadway, No. 252, Vancouver, WA  98663
Please include your phone number and address where you can be reached.