In 1880, Peter Kirk and his Seattle associates built an iron and steel works on the east side of Lake Washington in wet and green Washington state. The mill produced no steel and was closed thirteen years later.

During those years, hundreds of hardy and hopeful souls built lives and homes around that mill. Eight years after the mill was built, the town of Kirkland was founded. Twelve years after its closure, with a population of 400, they incorporated. Instead of steelworkers, the residents of Kirkland were wool-millers and shipwrights, producing wool to warm prospectors during the Alaska Gold Rush and ferries for Lake Washington.

Beginning in 1968, Kirkland began swallowing nearby communities, starting with the town of Houghton. Over the next two decades, Totem Lake, South Juanita, and Rose Hill were consumed in turn.

In 2001, the population of Kirkland is nearly 46,000 -- 15th in the state of Washington and 7th in King County. It's graced with over five miles of Lake Washington shoreline, studded with magnificent homes.

Drive east from Kirkland, and you'll find Redmond, home of Microsoft. Drive south, and you'll find Bellevue, home of Puget Sound Energy and VoiceStream.

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