Leavenworth pre-Bavarian history

Leavenworth Washington’s history begins with the Yakama, Chinook, and Wenatchi tribes, who fished and hunted at the confluence of the Wenatchee River and Icicle Creek. Pioneers arrived in the 1860s gold rush, established at trading post, and by 1890 had built a town called Icicle Flats. When the Great Northern Railway line arrived in 1893, it brought new economic opportunities, and soon the town was a thriving commercial hub for the logging industry. Its Lamb-Davis Sawmill was one of the largest in the country. The boom from the lumber, mining, railroad, and fruit industries boosted Leavenworth’s population to 5,500. Then in the 1920’s Great Northern moved its yards to Wenatchee and rerouted its tracks to bypass Leavenworth. The sawmills closed, and timber companies based along Icicle Creek began to fail. The arrival of the Great Depression in the 1930s hastened a decline from which Leavenworth would not recover for 30 years.

Black and white, fairly distant oblique angle photographic image of Main Street in Leavenworth, Chelan County, WA, ca. 1910
Main Street, Leavenworth, 1910.
(source: Washington State Historical Society)