Sitting directly on Highway 2 in Tumwater Canyon, just outside of the town of Leavenworth, is the Alps Candy Shop. This place is so much more than just a candy store! The owner, Archie Marlin Jr., fills the shelves with a vast array of his own creations, from hot sauces to marmalades, brittles to pickles, and oh so many mustards. His father was in the candy business and a few of the recipes are from Archie Sr., but most are his own. The shop caught fire in 2009, but he rebuilt quickly to tourist’s delight. If you have the time, you can read about the fire in this article from the New York Times.
Inside the shop, there is this photo of Highway 2 from 1926. What a difference! The photo is from Steven’s Pass, which is further along the road, but you can see in the photo that Highway 2 was just a dirt road back then. No sign of the Steven’s Pass Ski Resort. I love the sign in the photo that says “This is God’s Country. Don’t set it on fire and make it leak like Hell.”
Outside of the store is a large bell with the story posted next to it:
It began about the turn of the century. The Great Northern Railway had a line serving this part of the Northwest Territory. On one of their mighty trains was mounted this beautiful bronze bell.
Now, the legend is, the engineer through this sparsely settled frontier drove this mighty train. One dark night as he traveled through the lonely area he saw lights blinking, blinking, blinking in a rural home. Unsure of the meaning he began to ring the bell in answer. Two days later, he returned home, told his wife about it, and suggested she pay a visit to the home of the blinking lights. His wife was a person gifted with unusual powers. She visited the home and sure enough it had been a distress signal and she miraculously solved the family problem.
The story soon spread, and it became the custom of those that lived along the rail line to blink their lights to the train for help. The engineer always answered by ringing his bell and on his return trip would send his wife to the people.The bell tolling recipe of the message and the miracles performed by the gifted lady, though never understood, were accepted with great love and appreciation.
Then tragedy struck. The lady died. The engineer continued to drive his train and always remembered the wonderful experiences they had. Two years went by, and one pitch-dark night he saw lights blinking in a settler’s home. He was stunned and overcome with a feeling of helplessness, but not for long.
The bell was ringing and he was not ringing it. No one was ringing it – but it rang. He could not stop the train. The home was soon out of sight and the bell ceased ringing. The next week he made a special trip to the blinking light home. He was welcomed in the most cordial manner. It seems as soon as the bell rang a miracle had been performed.
This story soon spread and for years when help was needed, the people once again blinked their lights and the bell itself would ring in answer. It seems the powers of the woman had been transferred to the bell.
Then tragedy struck once more. The engineer died and the Great Northern Railway dismantled the train. The bell lay all alone in the Great Northern Yard. Sad and lonely, the bell now had power and wanted to be where it could still help people.
A group of primary Sunday school children at the newly completed Ridgecrest Baptist Church had saved and sacrificed to buy the bell. They contacted the Great Northern Railway, who responded by donating the bell. This bell with its power decided this is where it wanted to be. The bell was happy once more. Church members loved the bell, though they never did learn of its powers. Many times however, they were mystified. How could the bell seem to ring out all by itself? They thought of it as one of those things. Then tragedy struck a third time.
The city of Seattle passed a law that it would be unlawful to ring the church bell. The church deacons wondered what to do about the bell. The bell again made a wish to be at a place where it could be with people from all over the country, or even the world.
That’s why the bell is where it is today, in this beautiful spot. The Alps in Tumwater Canyon is just five miles outside of Leavenworth on Highway 2. Proudly hangs the bell in this peaceful mountain spot. Pull the rope and make a wish whether you believe or not. You will find peace will come and better you will feel. From the bell through the rope will silently steal. Into your being peace and a cure, plus happiness with the new hope you can be sure. The Bell, The Bell, The Bell.
By Archie Martin Sr.
The Great Northern Railway did run through this area, but there is no “Ridgecrest Baptist Church” exactly. There is a Tabernacle Baptist Church in the Ridgecrest neighborhood. Perhaps they have changed their name over the years. As for the city outlawing the church bells, I’ve never heard of such a regulation. The city has a number of church bells that ring hourly, especially on Sundays. I’m not sure if there’s any truth to this quint legend, but the bell is fun to ring, and the setting couldn’t be more beautiful!