Year Listed: 2016
In 1886, a British steel tycoon named Peter Kirk envisioned a “Pittsburgh of the West” to be established in the area he incorporated as Kirkland. Attempting to turn this vision into reality, the Kirkland Land and Improvement Company constructed 8 homes in 1889. One of these 8, the Trueblood House, differs from the other residences: while seven of the homes were built for steel mill executives in the West of Market area, the Trueblood House sat East of Market and, based on newspaper records, was built for Doctor William Buchanan, Kirkland’s first physician. A second physician, Doctor Barclay Trueblood, took up residence in 1907 and today the house retains his namesake.
The Trueblood House is one of very few early residential structures remaining able to represent the founding history of Kirkland. The Trueblood House is an excellent example of the wood-frame English Mill Town architecture present in Kirkland due to Peter Kirk’s influence. While Kirk’s plan to create a center of steel production never materialized, the area grew in population as other industries developed including wool production and shipbuilding. By the midtwentieth century, construction of floating bridges across Lake Washington made Kirkland a popular bedroom community for urban commuters to Seattle.
Kirkland remains a popular residential city, yet due to dramatic regional economic growth and an associated spike in land values, smaller, historic houses increasingly fall victim to the teardown trend. The current owners of the Trueblood House planned to build a new, larger residence on the property, but supported relocation of the structure to a new site. In 2016, the house was moved to a nearby parking lot to await a party willing to acquire the house, and hopefully keep it in Kirkland.
The house was recently purchased by Kim and Dan Hartman, and on August 15, 2017 it was moved to its permanent new home on Sixth Avenue in the Norkirk neighborhood of Kirkland. A huge thanks to Nickel Bros for making the move possible, to Kim and Dan Hartman for recognizing how special this house is, and to the many, many advocates who put time and effort into making sure we did not lose this one!
News coverage of the move:
King5 – Historic Kirkland house moved to new home (video)
Kirkland Reporter – Historic Kirkland house to move to permanent location
The Seattle Times – On the move in Kirkland (slideshow)