Wenatchee, named after the native people who inhabited the valley in the eastern Cascades for centuries, is situated at the confluence of the Wenatchee and Columbia Rivers in central Washington. The first European explorers came through Wenatchee in 1811. Settlement began in 1868 and increased with the coming of the Great Northern Railway Company in 1892. Its population grew rapidly as merits of the area's soil, climate, and water resources attracted homesteaders who planted orchards. The tree fruit industry thrived, and Wenatchee became known as the "Apple Capital of the World," with an annual Apple Blossom Festival that endures as the community's biggest celebration. Orchards propelled the economy through most of the 20th century. Now, thanks to Wenatchee's location on two rivers in the Cascade foothills, the town has become a destination for outdoor recreation and wine tourism with a beautiful downtown historic district worth exploring.