Welcome To Leavenworth, Washington
I have spent the last eight years now exploring and photographing Leavenworth, Washington. I feel fortunate to have such an amazing photographic location so close to home, less than two hours from my front door. Every year I return to create new images and to lead groups of photographers in and around this gem of Washington State.
What Is Leavenworth?
Leavenworth is a city in Chelan County, Washington, United States. It is part of the Wenatchee−East Wenatchee Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 1,965 at the 2010 census. The entire town center is modeled on a Bavarian village as part of a civic initiative that began in the 1960s. The area is a major four season tourist destination with festivals nearly every month and a multitude of events scheduled on weekends and weekdays year round.
The History Of Leavenworth
The construction of the Great Northern Railway through Tumwater Canyon in 1892 brought settlers to a townsite that was named "Leavenworth". Lafayette Lamb arrived in 1903 from Clinton, Iowa to build the second largest sawmill in Washington state.
Leavenworth was officially incorporated on September 5, 1906. A small timber community, it became a regional office of the Great Northern Railway in the early 1900s. The railroad relocated to Wenatchee in 1925, greatly affecting Leavenworth's economy. The city's population declined well into the 1950s as the lumber mills closed and stores relocated.
The city looked to tourism and recreation as a major economy as early as 1929, when they opened a ski jump. In 1962, the Project LIFE (Leavenworth Improvement For Everyone) Committee was formed in partnership with the University of Washington to investigate strategies to revitalize the struggling logging town. The theme town idea was created by two Seattle businessmen, Ted Price and Bob Rodgers, who had bought a failing cafe on Highway 2 in 1960. Price was chair of the Project LIFE tourism subcommittee, and in 1965 the pair led a trip to a Danish-themed town, Solvang, California, to build support for the idea. The first building to be remodeled in the Bavarian style was the Chikamin Hotel, which owner Jamie Peterson renamed the Edelweiss after the state flower of Bavaria.
Geology Of Leavenworth
Leavenworth sits on the southeast side of the North Cascades collage, which is a group of terranes that accreted to North America all about the same time. Marine fossils indicate that the terranes were probably a group of islands originating in the South Pacific hundreds of million years ago. The terranes arrived at North America about 90 million years ago in the middle of the Cretaceous period. When they smashed into their new home, they were a puzzle of north-south slices. As accretion continued, they were cut into horizontal (east-west) slices.
About 19,000 years ago, a large rock slide dammed the Columbia River near Rock Island, just south of Wenatchee. The temporary dam, in conjunction with one of the Lake Missoula floods, caused the water to flow back up the Wenatchee Valley, where it was stopped by the glacier at Leavenworth. As the leading edge of the glacier interacted with the flood, ice rafts formed carrying granite erratics from the Stuart batholith, which ended up in the town of Dryden about 15 miles down the valley from Leavenworth. As the glacier retreated, the south side of Leavenworth was a lake dammed up by the moraine. The bridge on the east side of town is a good vantage point to see where the Wenatchee River cuts through the moraine today.
Leavenworth Washington Limited Edition Photography Prints by Aaron Reed
Below you will find a collection of my work from this area, including some of my best selling limited edition fine art prints captured over the past eight years. I hope you enjoy these beautiful glimpses of my home state.