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.
Below are pictures taken by photographer Walt Rembold of
Leavenworth's Front Street in 1964 before buildings were remodeled with
that Bavaria-inspired jewel of Washington State's Cascade Mountains .
.." Seattle Post Intelligencer
TED PRICE AND BOB RODGERS
INTRODUCE BAVARIAN THEME TO THE
IN 1960 - THEN SPEARHEAD THE
OF LEAVENWORTH 5 YEARS LATER
|The Bavarian theme was the
inspiration of Bob Rodgers. Born in
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
his partner Ted Price became the "Johnny Appleseeds" who spurred the
transformation of Leavenworth into a Bavarian village.
|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
and Ted hiking in the
Cascade Mountains near
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.
A surprise hit at The Squirrel Tree
were the wild bears that visited
the restaurant for scraps.
Four years later, their
experiences at The Squirrel Tree proved to be the pilot project in
Leavenworth into a Old Bavarian village.
Our cook, Penny Ells, and Ole
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
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
then opened several businesses.
Here are before
pictures of some of the first buildings to be remodeled in Leavenworth:
Price and Rodgers
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
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
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
der Markt Platz Gift Shop
Click the play button below to see Pauline Watson co-chair Project
Alpine from the film: Miracle Town produce by In Touch Media
Four Seasonal Events
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
Autumn Leaf Festival
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
(March 11, 2003-Page l. Col.l, and
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: email@example.com
Recollections by Ted Price, As Told to
Price, visionary of Leavenworth's transformation, tells
the complete story of how this economically depressed
mountain logging town became a beautiful and prosperous Bavarian
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
0-9651206-0-0 187 pages. Over 250 color and
We will be adding to this web page so make sure to check back.
Bob Rodgers passed away on March 27, 2014, age 90
Ted Price passed away on February 19, 2015, age 91
For more information contact:
1701 Broadway, No. 252, Vancouver, WA
Please include your phone number
and address where you can be reached.