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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. Kirk envisioned developing a "Pittsburgh of the West" on the eastern shore of Lake Washington - a bustling new town whose main economy would be focused around steel production.
In 1880, the Moss Bay Iron and Steel Works was built by Kirk and several prominent Seattle businessmen. They hoped to tap the rich mineral resources of Snoqualmie Pass and believed that a ship canal would soon be cut through Seattle to Puget Sound, opening Lake Washington to Pacific Rim trade. A rail line to the Pass and a ship canal to Puget Sound were both constructed, but too late to save Kirk's dream. Due to a stock market crash in 1893, the mill closed without producing any steel.
The two most successful industries in Kirkland's early history were wool milling and ship building. The first wool mill in the State of Washington was established in Kirkland in 1892. It produced wool products for Alaska Gold Rush prospectors and for the U.S. military during World War I.
Kirkland's ship-building 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. The 1917 opening of the ship canal also opened Lake Washington to ocean-going vessels. 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.
Peter Kirk's dream of a city on the east shore of Lake Washington has been fulfilled, although not exactly as he imagined it. Today, Kirkland is a vibrant and thriving community of more than 80,000 people.
Community news can be found in the Kirkland Reporter. The city of Kirkland is located on Lake Washington just south of Bothell and in 2011, areas were annexed to create a city with a population of about 49,000. Kirkland has a vibrant downtown area that gives big city conveniences with a small town feel. The downtown area has lots of shops and restaurants and art galleries.
No other city in the Puget Sound area has more waterfront parks and beaches as does Kirkland. The Beach Café offers sweeping views of Lake Washington, the Olympic Mountains, and the Seattle skyline. Water activities include boating, sailing, kayaking, and parasailing.
Kirkland is a very dog-friendly destination. Walkers can explore several miles along Lake Washington from Carillon Point up to Marsh Park, with lake views, public sculptures, and waterfowl along the way.
Bicylists enjoy miles of scenic bike lanes, the Lake Washington Loop, and the 7 hills of Kirkland routes. The newly developed Cross Kirkland Corridor is a 5.75 mile trail that connects eight of the city’s 13 neighborhoods, from South Kirkland to Totem Lake with close access to the Sammamish River Trail and Woodinville wineries.
Kirkland has an event each July called Kirkland Uncorked. It showcases art, food, and wine in Downtown Kirkland’s Marina Park. It also features a boat show, the Uncorked Market, the CityDog modeling contest, and a Sunday Food Truck feast.
Kirkland has a nice mix of homes and condominiums. Each neighborhood is unique. In 2014, Money Magazine named Kirkland the 5th best place to live in the United States. For more information about Kirkland, click on Kirkland, Washington.