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    Wednesday
    Dec212011

    Kirkland

    The first settlers on the land surrounding what would later be known as Kirkland were the Popham and McGregor families, who homesteaded in what is now the Houghton neighborhood. They settled there in the late 1860's, when Indians were still living in the Yarrow Bay encampment. Four miles to the north, a few pioneers had settled around what they would later name Juanita Bay.

    By the end of the 1880's, the Eastside had become a small collection of communities. Logging, farming, boat-building and other mainstays of 19th Century living were the norm.

    Today Kirkland is a wonderful community on the east shores of Lake Washington. It's usually a short commute to and from Seattle via the 520 floating bridge with light traffic. Heavy traffic is the norm however and the 520 floating bridge is set to be replaced and enlarged this coming year. When completed with east / west commute will be greatly enhanced.

    Downtown Kirkland today is the perfect-sized collection of shops, restaurants, art galleries, parks, and coffee shops, along with several high-end condos jetting out into the lake. The surrounding areas of Kirkland are also very pleasant and varying. Some homes were built in the 1940's and 1950's but most have been built in the last 30 years with many in the past 10 years. Beautiful lakeside condos, apartments, and estates line the 2 miles of shoreline and bluffs from downtown to Carillon Point a prestigious development on the lake offering fine dining, office space, a marina and a luxury hotel, spa, and yacht club.

    Most of Kirkland's office parks, shopping and services are set on either side of Interstate-405 at the Totem Lake exit in north Kirkland. Condos and townhomes are plentiful and a few sections of single-family homes are also in the area, with more of everything added each year. Google also has a campus in Kirkland.

    Bridle Trails State Park is the largest of Kirkland's historic parks. As the name suggests, it is horses that draw visitors to this facility. The park offers 28 miles of hiking and riding trails and hosts numerous equestrian riding and show events. Homes in the surrounding neighborhoods range from modest ranch houses to fabulously grand estates.

    Schools in Kirkland are in the highly regarded Lake Washington School District. And Kirkland's International Community Schools is consistently ranked as one of the best public schools in the country.

    With its wonderful schools, parks, and beaches combined with fine arts, shopping, and dining, Kirkland is a great place to live and work.