Kirkland: Then and Now
- British steel tycoon Peter Kirk set out to make his new town the “Pittsburgh of
- The legacies left behind when the dreams of Peter Kirk’s mill failed are now the
sites of historic interest in the town of Kirkland: original homesteads from the
pre-Kirk days in the 1870s and 1880s, the brick business buildings built to
house the subsidiary businesses that would come to the area because of the steel
mill, the Victorian homes built for the steel mill executives and workers, and
the Craftsman style bungalows built in the 1910s and 1920s.
- Kirkland's ship building industry began on the Lake Washington waterfront with
the construction of ferries. By 1940, Houghton's Lake Washington Shipyard was
building warships for the U.S. Navy; more than 25 were built during World War II
on what is now Carillon Point. The location is now home to a luxury hotel and
some of the most creative high-tech companies in the region.
- In the past century many changes have occurred in Kirkland. The locations where
shingle mills used to dot the lakeshore are now parks and homes. Where the
shipyard used to be is now a hotel/business center with a marina for pleasure
boats. Many homes where families were raised are now newer homes to newer
families. Some of the buildings in Kirkland's downtown are the same ones that
used to greet ferry riders fifty years ago, but today those ferry riders would
be amazed to see the amount of condos both above and behind them.
- Kirkland has since annexed the communities of Juanita, Rose Hill and Totem Lake,
among others, making it the 12th largest city in the state of Washington. Over
one hundred years ago, Peter Kirk envisioned a city of 50,000 people, which is
close to today's population of more than 45,000 people in 13 city neighborhoods.
- Kirkland recognizes the founding of the city and Peter Kirk’s birthday each
- Kirkland is home to the Seattle Seahawks, the Junior Softball World Series and
the Kirkland Kodiaks.
- The Audubon Society recognizes Juanita Bay Park as one of the area’s best urban
wildlife preserves featuring eagles, turtles and beavers, and many other
woodland and wetland creatures.
- The National Volkssporting Association has named Kirkland one of the best
walking routes in the country.
- Kirkland is home to 39 parks, 9 of which are along the waterfront. Twenty-eight
sculptures are located throughout the city and there are 5 public docks.
- Warehouse chain Costco started its headquarters in Kirkland, hence the "Kirkland
Signature" store brand.
- Every year around Thanksgiving, hundreds of otherwise perfectly respectable
locals get dressed up in turkey costumes and run up and down the Kirkland’s
downtown streets. Visitors are always welcome to participate in this annual
spectacle, that benefits Hopelink, appropriately named the Turkey Trot.
Kirkland facts courtesy of Alan J. Stein, Kirkland Heritage Society and