The City of Kirkland was named after a British-born steel tycoon, Peter Kirk, who came to the Northwest in the 1880s seeking new development opportunities. In 1880, the Moss Bay Iron and Steel Works was built by Kirk and several prominent Seattle businessmen. A rail line to the Pass and a ship canal to Puget Sound were both constructed, but due to a stock market crash in 1893, the iron and steel mill were closed.
Kirkland’s shipbuilding industry began on the Lake Washington waterfront with the construction of ferries. For 20 years, most of the boats on Lake Washington were either built or repaired in the Kirkland area. By 1940, Kirkland’s Lake Washington Shipyard was building warships for the U.S. Navy. More than 25 warships were built during World War II on what is now Carillon Point.
The City of Kirkland continues to grow. In 1974, the Totem Lake neighborhood became part of Kirkland. The neighborhoods of South Juanita, North Rose Hill, and South Rose Hill joined Kirkland in 1988, bringing the city to its present population of 44,000. At the time, these were the largest annexations undertaken in the state in nearly two decades, adding three and one-half square miles to the city as well as 16,000 new residents.
Located on the eastern shores of Lake Washington, Kirkland is a suburban city infused with vitality and a young attitude where joggers, shoppers, business people and retirees all mingle along the boulevard. It’s a town where international corporate headquarters and small businesses coexist, and where you can choose between movie theaters and community theaters.
Kirkland is a scenic destination with a variety of attractions to offer people of all ages. Picturesque parks are available for such activities as swimming, fishing, and various athletics. The marina is a great location for someone to dock their boat and have a picnic on the breathtaking shore of Lake Washington.
Kirkland is a town for all people with ample housing options, civic services, active community programs, convenient shopping, great schools and exciting entertainment. In Kirkland you will find an emphasis on the arts, education, business development, natural resources and the quality of life. These values are the pride of the community that many work to enhance.
Kirkland offers anything from bluff-top condos to waterfront estates - its downtown eateries and galleries have become a home for young professionals, executives, two-career families and grandparents. Many are employed in the region’s booming industries such as software and aerospace. Kirkland’s cozy outlying neighborhoods, away from the water, are an affordable haven. The relatively safe community offers peace-of-mind to residents, where school children commonly walk to school.
Like the rest of the Eastside, Kirkland had very little apartment development in the early 1900s. Much of the rental housing in Kirkland was built from the 1970s to the present. The highest concentrations of buildings are along Lake Washington and downtown Kirkland. These areas tend to be more expensive than most areas on the Eastside because of the views, close in proximity to Kirkland’s great downtown, easy access to Lake Washington and the relatively easy commute to Seattle. Rentals range from $1.25-1.75 per square foot, and with the addition of Lake Washington and sunset views, prices are higher and in some cases can exceed $2.00 per square foot. Kirkland neighborhoods that lie outside its downtown core, like Juanita and Rose Hill, offer more affordable housing.
The City of Kirkland has a total of 33 city, county, and state parks, which provide citizens with the opportunity to visit natural, open spaces. The parks offer many activities for all ages. Each park gives a unique variety of scenic settings, many with a waterfront view. Kirkland’s parks have a reputation for being well landscaped and lush throughout the year. The parks are popular among visitors looking for a family picnic location, a place to hike through trails, or just to rest and relax in natural settings. Kirkland’s downtown hosts community events such as the Bite of Kirkland and Kirkland Art Festival.