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Kirkland, Washington
—  City  —

Nickname(s): The Little City That Could
Location of Kirkland within King County, Washington, and King County within Washington.
Coordinates: 47°41′9″N 122°11′30″W / 47.68583°N 122.19167°W / 47.68583; -122.19167
Country United States
State Washington
County King
Founded 1888
Incorporated 1905
 - Mayor Joan McBride[1]
 - Total 11.0 sq mi (28.5 km2)
 - Land 10.7 sq mi (27.7 km2)
 - Water 0.3 sq mi (0.9 km2)
Elevation 14–500 ft (4–152 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 45,054
 - Density 4,220.3/sq mi (1,628.8/km2)
Time zone Pacific (UTC-8)
 - Summer (DST) Pacific (UTC-7)
ZIP codes 98033, 98034, 98083
Area code(s) 425
FIPS code 53-35940[2]
GNIS feature ID 1512352[3]

Kirkland is a city in King County, Washington, United States. It is a suburb of Seattle on the Eastside (of Lake Washington). The population was 45,054 at the 2000 census; its estimated 2006 population of 46,476 makes it the 9th largest city in King County and the 19th largest city in the state.[4] Effective June 1, 2011, Kirkland will add approximately 33,000 residents by annexation, making it the 6th largest city in King County and the 12th largest in the state[5].

Features of the city include its downtown, located on the lakefront (Kirkland is the only city on the Eastside with a waterfront downtown), with restaurants, art galleries, a 400 seat performing arts center, public parks, including beaches, and a collection of public art, primarily bronze sculptures.

Kirkland is the former home of the Seattle Seahawks; the NFL team's headquarters and training facility were located in Kirkland for its first 32 seasons. The Seahawks moved to the new 19-acre (77,000 m2) Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton on August 18, 2008. Warehouse chain Costco previously had its headquarters in Kirkland (now in Issaquah), hence the "Kirkland Signature" store brand. Prominent companies such as Bungie Studios (developer of the Halo, Marathon, Myth and Oni video game series) have headquarters in Kirkland, has a Google development office; see List of companies based in Kirkland, Washington.

Kirkland had its moment in the limelight when the 1982 Kirkland National Little League team won the Little League World Series. It also was the home to Little League's 1992 Big League Softball World Series Champions representing the Eastside District Nine Leagues. Since 1999 Kirkland has been the home of the Little League Junior Softball World Series held each August at Kirkland's Everest Park.



Kirkland in 1912, at the modern-day intersection of Fourth Avenue and First Street overlooking Lake Washington

The land around Lake Washington to the east of Seattle was first settled by Native Americans. English settlers arrived in the late 1860s, when the McGregor and Popham families built homesteads in what is now the Houghton neighborhood. Four miles to the north people also settled near what is now called Juanita Bay, a favored campsite of the Natives because a wild potato, "wapatos", thrived there. The Curtis family arrived in the area in the 1870s, followed by the French family in 1872. The Forbes family homesteaded what is now Juanita Beach Park in 1876[6], and settled on Rose Hill in 1877. Gradually, additional people settled in the area, and by the end of the 1880s, a small number of logging, farming and boat-building communities were established.[7]

In 1886, Peter Kirk, a British-born enterprising businessman seeking to expand the family’s Moss Bay steel production company, moved to Washington after hearing that iron deposits had been discovered in the Cascade mountain range. Other necessary components such as limestone, needed in steel smelting, were readily available in the area. Further yet, a small number of coalmines (a required fuel source for steel mills) had recently been established nearby in Newcastle and train lines were already under construction. Plans were also underway to build the Lake Washington Ship Canal.

Map of Kirkland showing various notable locations.

Kirk realized that if a town were built near the water it would be a virtual freshwater port to the sea, as well as help support any prospective mill. At the time, however, Kirk was not a U.S. citizen and could not purchase any land. Fortunately, Leigh S.J. Hunt, then owner of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, offered to partner with Kirk and buy the necessary real estate.

Under their new venture, the Kirkland Land and Development Company, Kirk and Hunt purchased thousands of acres of land in what is now Kirkland’s downtown in July 1888. Kirk and his associates started the construction of a new steel mill soon after, named Moss Bay Iron and Steel Works. Thus founding the city of Kirkland in 1888, officially one of the earliest on the Eastside at the time, Kirk’s vision of a "Pittsburgh of the West" was beginning to take form.

However, the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railroad, which had recently been purchased by Tacoma-based Northern Pacific, had now refused to construct a rail line to the lake. This would, after all, have a negative impact on Tacoma, which was furiously competing with Seattle as the dominant Puget Sound seaport. The ensuing financial issues and numerous obstacles were also taking a toll on Kirk, who was running out of investors. Hunt was also in debt from the purchase of land.

Nevertheless, the plans continued and the steel mill was eventually completed in late 1892 on Rose Hill (a full two miles from the lake's shore). Unfortunately, before it would ever produce any steel, financial issues arose and due to the Panic of 1893 the mill subsequently closed without ever producing any steel. In spite of everything, Kirk was determined not to give up on his namesake town, and Kirkland was finally incorporated in 1905 with a population of approximately 532.

In 1900 the Curtis family made a living operating a ferry-construction business on Lake Washington. Along with Captain John Anderson, the Curtises were among the first to run ferries in the area. Leschi, first operated on December 27, 1913, was the original wooden ferry to transport automobiles and people between the Eastside and Madison Park until her retirement in 1950. The ferry operations ran nearly continuously for 18 hours each day. The construction of the first Lake Washington floating bridge in 1940, however, made ferry service unprofitable and eventually led to its cancellation.[8] Subsequent years saw wool milling and warship building become the major industries.

The first woolen mill in the state of Washington was built in Kirkland in 1892. The mill was the primary supplier of wool products for the Alaska Gold Rush prospectors and for the U.S. military during World War I. By 1917, after the completion of the Lake Washington Ship Canal, the construction of ocean-going vessels had become a major business. By 1940, the thriving Lake Washington Shipyard had constructed more than 25 warships during World War II for the U.S. Navy, on what is now Carillon Point.


Kirkland Annexations
Annexation Date Sq Mi Annexed Cumulative Sq Mi
1905 – 1910 0.88 0.88
1910 – 1920 0.00 0.88
1920 – 1930 0.01 0.89
1930 – 1940 0.00 0.89
1940 – 1950 1.00 1.89
1950 – 1960 0.11 2.00
1960 – 1970 3.39 5.39
1970 – 1980 0.84 6.23
1980 – 1990 4.19 10.42
1990 – 2004 0.00 10.42
ca. 2009* 7* 17*
* Estimated

Since the incorporation of Kirkland in 1905, the city has grown to approximately 12 times its original geographic boundaries, nearly doubling in size during the 1940s and 1960s.

Kirkland consolidated with the neighboring town of Houghton on July 31, 1968 to form one city of 13,500. It annexed the neighborhood of Totem Lake in 1974, and the neighborhoods of South Juanita, North Rose Hill, and South Rose Hill in 1988, which were the largest annexations undertaken in Washington in nearly two decades. This added a further 16,119 people to Kirkland's population and was responsible for 76 percent of Kirkland's population increase between 1980 and 1990.

On November 3, 2009, responding to a county initiative to encourage cities to annex or incorporate many of the unincorporated areas within the county,[9] as well as a state sales tax incentive intended to ease the process,[10], three previously unincorporated districts north of the City—Finn Hill, Juanita, and Kingsgate—voted on whether to annex to Kirkland. The measure failed by seven votes to reach the 60% margin, which was required because the measure included accepting a share of the city's voter-approved debt.[11] However, since the affirmative vote was over 50%, the city council could and did vote to accept the annexation, effective June 1, 2011, without the assumption of debt. [12]

The annexation will add 33,000 residents (combined total population of around 80,000)[13] and nearly 7 square miles (18 km2)[14] to Kirkland.

Kirkland culture

Like most of its Eastside neighbors, it is relatively affluent but dependent in large part on nearby technology firms such as Redmond-based Microsoft. Kirkland has an active antiwar movement, including Evergreen Peace and Justice Community, and members of Veterans for Peace chapter 92, Washington Truth in Recruiting, Eastside Fellowship of Reconciliation, and other groups. In addition, Kirkland hosts an American Legion post.[15]


Kirkland has two Little Leagues: Kirkland American Little League and Kirkland National Little League. Kirkland National won the 1982 Little League World Series championship.[16]

The Kirkland Baseball Commission provides recreational baseball for players ages 13–18. It is affiliated with the national Pony Baseball organization.


The Kirkland Reporter [17], briefly known as the Kirkland Courier Reporter, is a weekly publication and is the city's designated newspaper of record, founded in 1978. In 1991, the Pacific Publishing Company acquired The Kirkland Courier. In 2007, the paper changed hands again, this time purchased by Sound Publishing, an American subsidiary of Canadian publisher Black Press Limited.

The Eastside Sun is a monthly newspaper which serves the Kirkland community with an emphasis on city government and an open forum for citizens. Emphasis on cultural and nightlife events as well as editorial opinion provide the main focus of The Eastside Sun. Founded in 2006 by a group of downtown Kirkland business owners the newspaper has consolidated under the principal ownership of John Michael Gilday through his publishing venture, Menefreghista Publishing. The Sun projects itself as an "outside voice".


Marina Park in Kirkland

During the summer, local residents of neighboring cities flock to Kirkland to visit Kirkland's many waterfront parks on Lake Washington. Kirkland has neighborhood parks as well, and abuts the equestrian Bridle Trails State Park. The waterfront parks are linked by a paved trail which is open till dusk.

Non-motorized transportation

In 2006, Kirkland was the first city in Washington to adopt a Complete Streets ordinance,[18][19][20] whereby pedestrian and bicycle facilities are addressed as a part of all road construction and improvement planning projects.

Kirkland passed an Active Transportation Plan in 2009 specifically targeting improvements to pedestrian, bicycle, and equestrian facilities.[21]

Arts and entertainment

Kirkland had a thriving gallery district downtown until recent years when all but three galleries closed or moved away. The Kirkland Performance Center hosts a number of performing arts events.

The Kirkland Arts Center, located in the historic Peter Kirk Building on Market Street, provides classes, workshops and community-oriented gallery space.

Kirkland has bars, clubs and dance clubs, one on Lake Street, two on Central Way, one on Lake Shore Plaza and the other in Park Place Center.

Teen Union Building

The Kirkland Teen Union Building in downtown Peter Kirk Park is supported by the city and a number of nonprofit organizations. It has two music stages, a recording studio, darkroom and year-round activities and programs for youth.[22]

Geography and climate

Kirkland is located at 47°41′9″N 122°11′30″W / 47.68583°N 122.19167°W / 47.68583; -122.19167 (47.685821, -122.191729)[23]. It is bordered to the west by Lake Washington, to the east by Redmond, to the south by Bellevue, and to the north by Kingsgate Woodinville and Bothell.

Kirkland is accessible via Interstate 405, which connects it with other Eastside cities, including Bellevue, Renton, and Bothell. Seattle, which is west of Kirkland, as well as Redmond to the east, are both accessible through State Highway 520.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 11.0 square miles (28.5 km²), of which, 10.7 square miles (27.7 km²) of it is land and 0.3 square miles (0.9 km²) of it (3.00%) is water. The elevation varies from 14 to 500 feet (150 m) above sea level.

Kirkland's average temperature is 46.8 °F, and the average annual precipitation 38.6 inches (980 mm).

Surrounding cities


Kirkland is home to Lake Washington Technical College and Northwest University, formerly Northwest College of the Assemblies of God.

Kirkland is in the Lake Washington School District. Secondary schools located in the city include:

Government and politics

Kirkland has a non-partisan council-manager form of government, with seven council members elected at large for staggered four-year terms. The city council selects a mayor from among its members, who serves as council chair but has no veto power. As of 2010, the mayor is Joan McBride and the city manager is David Ramsay.


Kirkland Growth Trends
Year Population Population Increase Land Area Increase
1910 532
1920 1,354 155% 0%
1930 1,714 27% 2%
1940 2,048 19% 0%
1950 4,713 130% 112%
1960 6,025 28% 6%
1970 15,070 150% 170%
1980 18,785 25% 16%
1990 40,052 113% 67%
2000 45,054 12% 170%
2001 45,770 2% 0%
2002 45,790 0.04% 0%
2003 45,630 -0.35% 0%
2004 45,800 0.37% 0%
2005 45,740 -0.13% 0%
Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1900 264
1910 532 101.5%
1920 1,354 154.5%
1930 1,714 26.6%
1940 2,084 21.6%
1950 5,718 174.4%
1960 8,541 49.4%
1970 15,249 78.5%
1980 18,779 23.1%
1990 40,052 113.3%
2000 45,054 12.5%
Est. 2008 47,303 5.0%

As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 45,054 people, 20,736 households, and 11,031 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,220.3 people per square mile (1,628.8/km²). There were 21,831 housing units at an average density of 2,045.0/sq mi (789.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 85.28% White, 1.59% African American, 0.53% Native American, 7.80% Asian, 0.20% Pacific Islander, 1.69% from other races, and 2.92% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos, who may be of any race, were 4.11% of the population.

There were 20,736 households out of which 23.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.0% were married couples living together, 8.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 46.8% were non-families. 35.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.13 and the average family size was 2.80.

In the city the population was spread out with 18.5% under the age of 18, 9.3% from 18 to 24, 38.1% from 25 to 44, 23.9% from 45 to 64, and 10.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 94.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $60,332, and the median income for a family was $73,395. Males had a median income of $50,691 versus $39,737 for females. The per capita income for the city was $38,903. Based on per capita income, Kirkland ranks 13th of 522 areas in the state of Washington to be ranked. About 3.9% of families and 5.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.3% of those under age 18 and 5.0% of those age 65 or over.

Sister city

Kirkland has one sister city, Emmerich, Germany.[26][27]

City landmarks

The city of Kirkland has designated one building as a city landmark.

Landmark Built Listed Address Photo
First Church of Christ, Scientist[28] 1922 2000 NW corner of Market St. & Lake Ave. W, Kirkland

Notable businesses




  1. ^
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  4. ^ "Subcounty population estimates: Washington 2000-2006" (CSV). United States Census Bureau, Population Division. 2007-06-28. Retrieved 2008-05-28.  
  5. ^ "City Council accepts annexation". City of Kirkland. Retrieved 2009-12-25.  
  6. ^ Stein, Alan. "Juanita Beach Park (Kirkland): Essay 4009". Retrieved 2007-12-24.  
  7. ^ Alan J. Stein (1998). "A Short History of Kirkland".  
  8. ^ Alan J. Stein (August 30, 2000). "The ferry Leschi makes its last run, ending ferry service on Lake Washington on August 31, 1950".  
  9. ^ King County, Washington (July 4, 2007). "King_County_Annexation_Initiative". Retrieved 2009-04-09.  
  10. ^ State of Washington (2006-07-07). "Bill 6686". Retrieved 2009-04-10.  
  11. ^ "Election results". Retrieved 2009-12-26.  
  12. ^ "City Council Accepts Annexation". Retrieved 2009-12-26.  
  13. ^ Nicole Tsong and Katherine Long, [1], Seattle Times, originally published November 3, 2009 at 9:48 PM, modified November 4, 2009 at 12:39 AM. Accessed online 2009-11-04.
  14. ^ Seattle Times (2009-04-08). "SeattleTimesAnnexation". Retrieved 2009-04-10.  
  15. ^ American Legion post #99,, retrieved 2009-06-17  
  16. ^ 1982 Little League history,  
  17. ^ "Kirkland Reporter". Sound Publishing. 2009-10-22. Retrieved 2009-10-22.  
  18. ^ "Complete Streets Ordinance". City of Kirkland. 2006-10-13. Retrieved 2009-02-17.  
  19. ^ "Walkability". City of Kirkland. Retrieved 2009-02-17.  
  20. ^ "Complete the Streets News". National Complete Streets Coalition. 2006-11-06. Retrieved 2009-02-18.  
  21. ^ "Active Transportation Plan". City of Kirkland. Retrieved 2009-04-10.  
  22. ^ "About Kirkland Teen Union Building". Kirkland Friends of Youth. Retrieved 2007-11-24.  
  23. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  24. ^ Moffatt, Riley. Population History of Western U.S. Cities & Towns, 1850-1990. Lanham: Scarecrow, 1996, 324.
  25. ^ "Subcounty population estimates: Washington 2000-2007" (CSV). United States Census Bureau, Population Division. 2009-03-18. Retrieved 2009-04-27.  
  26. ^ "Washington sister cities". Sister Cities International.  
  27. ^ Washington State Lieutenant Governor's Office. "Sister Relationships".  
  28. ^ King County and Local Landmarks List, King County (undated, last modified 2003-02-26). Accessed online 2009-05-08.

External links

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