Kirkland: quite possibly the most desirable place to live on Seattle’s Eastside
— Named after Peter Kirk, this “Sausalito of the North” has grown from 400 in 1905 to more than 80,000 residents. Today, the over 100 year old city includes several annexed neighborhoods. They include Houghton (1968) and North Rose Hill (1988) to the east and Totem Lake (1974) and South Juanita (1988) further north. With the annexation of Finn Hill, Kingsgate and North Juanita, effective June 1, 2011, the city has doubled in size.
In the shadow of the much larger city of Bellevue to the south, Kirkland has remained a “town” despite an explosive growth spurt. During the last two decades of the 20th century and the recent annexations, Kirkland’s population increased by about 33,000.
A leisurely walk around downtown and along Washington Boulevard from Moss Bay to Carillon Point shows Kirkland at its best. There are restaurants, galleries, specialty shops, parks and playgrounds. No other Seattle Eastside city offers more lake front and more varied views across Lake Washington toward Seattle and the Olympic Mountains beyond. These views also contribute to the value of real estate. Kirkland’s lakefront condos and some view homes located west and east of Market Street and on the hills of Houghton remain hot properties even in cooler real estate markets.
The steel mills, wool mills and ship building industry have given way to the service business and high-tech. Google has established a sizable Kirkland presence a few miles south of its more established competitor in Redmond. Carillon Point, which was once the location of a shipyard where in the 1940s ships were built for the U.S. Navy. Today it is home to offices, a marina, a hotel and shops.
Even the Carillon Point Woodmark, a luxury lakeside hotel, yacht club and spa now has competition. The Heathman which calls itself a “luxury boutique hotel” pampers guests in the very center of downtown Kirkland. It is located right across from the Kirkland library and the 12 acres named in honor of the town’s founder: Peter Kirk Park.