One of the last remaining historic houses in Kirkland faces an uncertain future after being temporarily saved by an Everett-based house rescue company.
The Truebood house, one of seven remaining houses constructed by Kirkland’s founding father Peter Kirk, was moved Wednesday morning from its historic roost at 127 Seventh Avenue down to road to the Lakeside Christian Church parking lot.
While the other six houses are to the west of Market Street, the Trueblood house sits to the east and its current owners hope to develop the land, said Kirkland Landmarks and Heritage Commissioner Lynette Weber.
Weber has researched the history of the house and said it was originally constructed in 1889.
Kirk, who was originally from England, was banned from owning property by an anti-immigrant law passed in 1887, so he partnered with Seattle Post-Intelligencer owner Leigh S.J. Hunt to construct homes and create a steel mill.
The Trueblood house may have originally housed steel mill workers before housing Kirkland’s first doctor, William Buchanan.
Later, in 1907, Dr. Barkley Trueblood purchased the house and lived there until 1922, Weber said. His stepson was also the mayor of Kirkland.
Weber was impressed by the impact she said Truebood had on the town.
“He was a phenomenal man who had extraordinary talents other than being a doctor,” she said.
Among these, she said, was a patent he filed for eyeglass lenses, despite not being an optometrist.
Since the 1920s, a string of owners has lived in the house, some of whom have restored parts of it.
Last year, the most recent owners offered the house to the city but a purchase agreement didn’t materialize. The city spent four months looking for a place to move the house but eventually opened it up to the public.
“We have been searching for someone to rescue the house,” Weber said. “It’s actually been a roller coaster trying to get it ready to move.”
In lieu of a full buyer, Nickel Bros Company, which specializes in rescuing historic houses, agreed to purchase the house and Lakeside Christian Church agreed to host the structure for three months in their parking lot.
Jeff McCord, with Nickel Bros, said the company rescuing the house benefits not only the buyer and future seller, but also the community, often rescuing houses that municipalities may not have the resources to save.
“We’ve identified the ability to step in with the smaller houses and residential structures in a neighborhood which would otherwise be demolished and sent to a landfill,” he said.
He estimated the Trueblood house was constructed with 70 to 80 trees. Preserving the house keeps the trees in the market, he said.
That equals roughly the recycling power of one person recycling paper over the course of 100 years, he said.
“It’s about the most green thing you can do,” McCord said.
Weber said there are currently four potential buyers; two are municipality-affiliated, and two are private.
She hopes a deal will be reached to save the Trueblood house in the three month window and said anyone can apply to purchase the house now.
“They are works of art, we just don’t build houses like this anymore,” she said. “It is, I think, so important to keep the history of the city intact.”