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Almost Bavarian Town

Field review by the editors.

White Salmon, Washington

According to a sign outside of town hall, White Salmon has been around since 1907. It wasn't until the early 1970s, however, that it tried, and failed, to become a fake Bavarian town.

White Salmon hoped to duplicate the fortunes of Leavenworth, a nearby city that had successfully undergone Bavarianization -- a word we did not invent -- in the mid-1960s. Leavenworth had reaped a tourist windfall. White Salmon, with its picturesque backdrop of snow-peaked Alps-like mountains, figured it could do the same.

It didn't. For reasons now obscure, the town only half-heartedly committed to the concept. Subsequent decades have eaten away at what little was attempted, and today the only vestiges of White Salmon's failed Olde World experiment are a few German blackletter public signs and a 14-bell glockenspiel mounted above its half-timbered, white-stuccoed city hall.

Almost Bavarian Town

Hwy 141, White Salmon, WA
German Ground Zero is at the corner of Jewett Blvd/Hwy 141 and Main Ave.
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