By Shirley Lindahl
Edited by Jerry Rutherford
World War I was felt in Kirkland with increased production at both the shipyard and the woolen mill. Dr. McKibben left as a captain in the Medical Corp of the 361st infantry to serve in France. Returning to Kirkland he helped organize the American Legion Post and was instrumental in purchasing the war-surplus boat that served as the floating clubhouse for 10 years. In 1929 the Legion was moved next door to our church. The building was the former Baptist Church. (This is the building which will become a temporary teen center.)
The year 1917 brought a complete "new look" to the waterfront area as nine additional feet of lakeshore were exposed. With the long-awaited completion on the Hiram Chittenden Locks came the realization that lowering the lake would leave all the docks unusable. Many were abandoned and shipping was temporarily disrupted until new facilities were built.
The shoreline had followed approximately the present location of Lake Washington Boulevard. The wagon road along the shore would wash out following a bad winter storm. A log bulkhead with a sidewalk on top helped protect the shore and was the main walking route to town. The creek flowing downhill from Rose Hill formed a large marsh in Kirkland from the vicinity of the baseball fields of the present Peter Kirk Park west to the lake. It was a favorite spot for ice skating in the early days. After the lake was lowered, the marsh was drained creating land that became a large truck garden. Foundations for buildings in the central part of town were all set on pilings.
Improvement of the streets was a prime consideration of the city following the war years and the church paid its share of the assessment.
The treasurer's report for the year 1919-20 showed the following:
|Insurance (3 years)||$18.75|
|Lights (19 months)||$19.44|
|Paper and postage||$2.33|
|Conference dues at 10 cents||$6.10|
|Cash on hand||$19.42|
MERGER WITH METHODIST DISCUSSED
At the annual meeting held July 21, 1920, a discussion was held concerning the desirability of merging with the Methodist Episcopal Church. The trustees were instructed to confer with a committee from the Methodist church about consolidating.
All across the nation an effort was being made to reduce the number of Protestant denominations. Towns with several congregations were asked to consider uniting where possible. Kirkland's population was about 1300. In the community beside the two discussing merger were the Baptist, Holy Family Catholic Church and the First Church of Christ Scientist.
For 30 years these two neighboring churches had often shared services so this was not a totally new idea in Kirkland. Committees from the Methodist and Congregational churches were appointed and a series of joint meetings explored the idea of uniting. Similar action had already been taken in Bremerton, Coupville and Vashon.
After discussing conditions in our community a motion was made and carried that a committee of one from each church consult with the District Superintendent of the Methodist Church and the Missionary Superintendent of the Congregational Church. A separate committee was set up to work out details of consolidating the Sunday Schools.