Winthrop is located on the northern side of the Cascade Loop, a popular scenic drive in Washington. The town original started in 1868 with the discovery of gold and was incorporated in 1924. In 1972 when State Highway 20 was nearing completion over the North Cascades, it was agreed that the town would undertake a western-themed restoration. The town theme idea was inspired by Leavenworth, which in turn was heavily based on Solvang, California. Winthrop is home to the oldest legal saloon in Washington State.