"Live a good life, and in the end, it’s not the years in the life, it’s the life in the years."

The All-America Bavarian city?

By on September 24, 2018 in Columnist with 0 Comments

Lee Martin

By Lee Martin

I’ve been a reader of The Good Life since the beginning and I find the articles to be entertaining as to what the Good Life means.

I am not sure this qualifies in your magazine but I thought I should attempt to convey what it’s like to be in the Upper Valley Good Life.

I am writing this because I recently saw a sign (actually a small sign I had never noticed during my time living here) that said Leavenworth was named the All-America City in 1967.

Now, I have lived here since 1995 but this was a revelation and got me to thinking: Wasn’t that about the time the town fathers decided to be a Bavarian town?

In Leavenworth there are a lot of things that are quite unique and eccentric and, to me, are quite funny. In Leavenworth being unique is good.

For this article I have tried to do as little research as possible because in my mind research detracts from the good life we have in Leavenworth. Why research when you can ski, hike, and ride bikes.

However, I did look at Wikipedia for about five minutes. I found that the year 1965 seems to be the year they decided to go Bavarian. In other words, they were named an All-America City two years after they decided to be German town?

Now let me put this in perspective for a moment.

Twenty years before we had concluded World War II with the defeat of the Germans. I don’t know about you, but I think there were a lot of people still alive then that had a huge problem with the Germans, you know Hitler and the war crimes. And they decided that this was a good idea for tourism?

This is the same idea, as say in three years in 2021, Cashmere decided to have a theme town centered around Bagdad, Iraq.

Come to think of it, that might not be a bad idea. Cashmere can’t really believe that people will continue to love Aplets and Cotlets. But I digress.

Who were the people who decided going from All-America to All-German was a good idea? There was a committee called LIFE standing for, and I kid you not, “Leavenworth Improvement for Everyone,” that decided it. I suppose when they said “everyone” they meant the committee members and their families.

But those of us who now live in the valley can be thankful that we can boast about living the good life.

Apparently, they had done some research too, and liked the town of Solvang, California, which is a Danish- themed town just north of Santa Barbara.

Now here’s where it gets unique. Solvang was settled as a real Danish colony! Danes, I mean real Danes, had decided to live there! Did real Germans want to settle in Leavenworth? No, only if they were loggers.

In other words, Leavenworth then decided that if they faked it, they could make it! And they did, and they have.

Now this is indeed unique. I believe there is truly no town like it in the country and, dare I say, the world. Even Disney admitted he was building a world that was make believe.

As it turns out, the LIFE committee was right.

More than 50 years later, “everyone” from all over the country and world come to see what the good life is about.

But probably few remember how it all started, if they’re like me.

So, come on down to visit our All-American-Bavarian village. And don’t forget to look for that little sign.

Lee Martin has lived in Leavenworth since 1995 where he and his wife raised their kids. He just returned from a hike for a week in the Cotswolds in England with said three kids and a son-in-law. He has a financial planning practice for his day job.

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