Our History

History Of Market Neighborhood

The Market Neighborhood is one of the most historic in the City of Kirkland and has had a significant role in the development of the City starting in the late 1880's when a majority of land was purchased to be part of Peter Kirk's new town. The area west of Market Street was to be a neighborhood based on social principles emerging in England to combine worker and executive housing into one neighborhood. The new Kirkland town center was at the intersection of Market Street and Piccadilly (7th Avenue West). This intersection continues to be one of the most historically significant in Kirkland.

Homesteads in the 1870's

The land homesteaded in the 1870's by Andrew and Susannah Nelson and their son Christian Nelson, as well as the Cedarmere tract, included all of the land from Lake Washington to First Street. The Nelsons were a Danish family who came to Kirkland in 1877. They built a small white frame house on the properly at the northeast corner of Market and Central (about where the telephone building is now located).

Kirkland Land and Improvement Company

Between 1888 and 1890, Peter Kirk's Kirkland Land and Improvement Company purchased many of the homesteads to begin the proposed new city that would support the construction of the Steel Mill on Rose Hill near Forbes Lake. In 1890 the original plat prepared by John Kellett, Kirk's engineer, was done with the street layout much as we see it today. In 1889, a number of homes for both workers and administrators were built in the Market Neighborhood although few of the roads were built until years later.

In 1893 the nation-wide depression wiped out Peter Kirk's dream of Kirkland becoming the "Pittsburgh of the West" as the financial backing stopped and the mill closed without ever having produced steel. Very little development occurred in Kirkland until after 1910, but even though times were tough, the citizens voted to incorporate in 1905.

Boom Development 1910 - 1930 - Burke & Farrar

One of the most significant eras of development in Kirkland was from 1910 through the 1930's after Burke & Farrar, Seattle developers, purchased Peter Kirk's remaining holdings. Although this era coincided with the national popularity of the Arts and Crafts movement and the construction of bungalow and craftsman styles of homes, the Market Neighborhood was not as impacted by their development as the adjacent Norkirk neighborhood. Burke & Farrar purchased Peter Kirk's Mansion on Waverly Way near 2nd Street West in 1916 and demolished it in order to divide the property into smaller lots.

Change of Street Names

In the late 1920's the street names defined in the original Kirk Plat were changed to the present name system to facilitate public safety. The street signs installed in 1999 and 2000 reflect the original historic names. Examples of these include: Market Street—a traditional name assigned to the agricultural roads that led from the farms to the market place—in this case, the ferry to Seattle. Waverly Way also retained its original name. Streets reflecting the English roots of Kirk and Kellett included: 7th Avenue West - Bond Street; 8th Avenue West - Regent Street; and 4th Street - Fleet Street. Others were named after States: 17th Avenue West - Oregon Street; and some after Presidents: 7th Street West - Monroe Street.

Schools on the Waverly Site (now Heritage Park)

The Union A High School or Kirkland High School was built in 1922 with the first graduating class in 1923. It served as the high school until 1950 when the new Lake Washington High School was built. The building served as a Junior High after the high school moved. In the early 1970's the older portion of the building was destroyed by fire and demolished. However, the historic terraces remain today in Heritage Park.

The junior high school at the northwest end of the site was built in 1932 and demolished by the City in 1987 after being vacant for a number of years. The main entry arch was saved and in 2005 was moved to the comer of Market Street and Waverly Way as the symbolic entry to Heritage Park.

Historic Properties

The Kirkland Heritage Society utilized a grant from the Kirkland City Council to conduct an inventory of properties meeting established historic criteria in 1999. Over one third of the structures on this citywide inventory are in the Market Neighborhood, with many of them having high priority status. Two buildings in the neighborhood, the Loomis House and Sears Building, are on the National Register of Historic Places.

Market Neighborhood History supplied courtesy of Robert Burke from the Kirkland Heritage Society.