Lake Wenatchee, 1930s

Today, I’d like to deviate slightly from the blog’s usual content and bring you a look at an image you won’t find anywhere else on the internet. Straight from my great-uncle’s photo album, check out this picture of Lake Wenatchee c. late 1930s!

I believe this specific photo was taken from the shoreline at Lake Wenatchee State Park, with Emerald Island visible on the right side.

FamPhoto 001
“Wenatchee Lake”

Lake Wenatchee (Labeled “Wenatchee Lake” in the photo album) is located 18 miles northwest of Leavenworth off of State Route 207. The glacier-and-snow-fed lake is five miles long and surrounded by private homes, campgrounds,  and a 489-acre park. Today, the park is a popular spot for all kinds of outdoor recreation–from fishing to swimming to camping–but this scenic lake has a history rooted in logging and farming.

The area around the lake was originally a resting spot for several tribes who camped, fished, and gathered berries along the shores en route to the coast for trading. in 1811, fur traders visited Chelan County, and by the end of the decade, pioneers settled in the area, clearing thick forests for farms. Logging continued as a major industry around the lake.

It was in this area that a hunter from a local tribe bragged about killing two white men, which many believe triggered the Yakima Indian War (1855-1858).

After North Shore Drive was built along the lake in the early 1920s, Lawrence Dickinson opened a gas station, store, and dance hall near where he lived with his family on Crescent Beach. It proved to be one of the most successful attempts at making Lake Wenatchee a tourist destination.

In the late 1940s and through the 1950s, the Wenatchee YMCA developed a camp on the southern end of the lake that remains in use today.