Celebrate Kirkland History Month with walking tour of more than 50 businesses

Peter Kirk’s top hat and history from Rose Hill, Juanita, Finn Hill and Houghton fill the display case at City Hall for Kirkland History Month throughout February. - Contributed
Peter Kirk’s top hat and history from Rose Hill, Juanita, Finn Hill and Houghton fill the display case at City Hall for Kirkland History Month throughout February.
— image credit: Contributed

Learn more about the City of Kirkland’s history in celebration of Kirkland History Month.

Kirkland Mayor Joan McBride issued a proclamation during the Kirkland Council meeting Feb. 7, naming the month of February as Kirkland History Month.

In the past, the community celebrated Kirkland’s history with Founder’s Day the week of Feb. 15, which is city founder Peter Kirk’s birthday. However, this year the time was extended from a week to a month due to feedback from businesses, which display signs with old photos and a snippet of history about the building in which the sign is posted.

This year, more than 50 businesses in downtown Kirkland Carillon Point, Juanita and Totem Lake are participating. Some businesses are offering specials to celebrate history month and promote their business.

Take the time to stop and see the sign posted, while getting acquainted with the services they provide for Kirkland. The celebration offers a self-guided walking tour and gives residents a chance to learn history and see photos of long-gone days.

For the month of February, Kirkland Heritage Society also fills the City Hall lobby display case with Kirkland history, which includes Peter Kirk’s top hat, and history from Rose Hill, Juanita, Finn Hill and Houghton.

Did you know?

The first celebration of Founders’ Day in Kirkland was the 1922 Bicentennial to honor Samuel, Caroline and Harry French who arrived at Pleasant Bay in 1872. Founders’ Day was again celebrated with the Founders’ Centennial in 1972. That Centennial gave Kirkland its first Moss Bay Days and first public art: the bronze Founders’ Fountain by James Fitzgerald at Marina Park.

The French family was not the first to settle in the area, but they were the first to stay. Three generations of French’s are buried in the Kirkland Cemetery and their home is the city’s oldest known dwelling. The Centennial Fountain was one of Fitzgerald’s last commissioned works before he died in 1973.

For two years Peter Kirk searched the Pacific coast for the ideal area to locate his Iron and Steel Works. In 1888 he chose the settlement on Nelson Bay between the lake ports of Houghton and Juanita. The new town was named Kirkland after Kirk. Nelson Bay was renamed Moss Bay after Moss Bay in Workington, England, home of Kirk’s original iron works.

In 1905, Kirkland was incorporated. That Centennial was celebrated in 2005.

Kirkland Heritage Society President Loita Hawkinson contributed to this report.


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