By Shirley Lindahl
Edited by Jerry Rutherford
In 1950, life in Kirkland saw new buildings appearing. Lake Washington High School had just been completed on Rose Hill and the former high school building, at the foot of Market Street became Kirkland Junior High. Safeway built a new store in downtown Kirkland. Following a destructive fire Ron Richardson built a new variety store and next door the new J. C. Penney store opened. Heisdorf and Nelson built a large hatchery building on the Houghton waterfront.
Members of the church were active in the community. Ralph Lundvahl was secretary of the Kiwanis Club. Al Pratt ran the East King County Credit; Jack Osborne worked for East Side Refrigeration and Lee Johnson Sr. had the Chevrolet dealership and was also president of the Kirkland Little League Baseball Association. Clayton Shinstrom was president of the First National Bank and employed several church members who included Arnold Sievers, Jean Flanagan, Jean Makela, Glenn Lampaert and Frank Shinstrom.
Soon after the toll was removed from the Lake Washington Floating Bridge, the ferry Leschi made its 1st run.
Our choir director, Esther Tye became Mrs. Leighton Smith in 1951. The Sunday school staff number 32 and there was no difficulty getting teachers with the now improved facilities.
That spring the mortgage on the last loan was paid. John Gates (Pam Owen's father) became treasurer taking the position his father had held for many years.
On June 17, Reverend Mills submitted his resignation. The pastoral committee set out at once to find a new minister. Dr. Archie Hook advised them to "(1) prepare a brochure with photographs and statistical material on the church and Kirkland and (2) decide what qualities are most needed in a minister."
In describing the community the pamphlet noted, "population has doubled in the last 10 years, excellent opportunity for development of an active church organization ... area east of Lake Washington is becoming popular for residential use ... of the 15 churches in town our church is the only one in the Liberal Tradition."
The report concluded, "We should like a minister who will be a good man in the pulpit, dignified, have a good speaking voice and an appreciation of music. He should be a man of some experience as a minister and with a sound background of academic and religious education."
After meeting weekly without a successful candidate in sight, they discussed disposing of the parsonage feeling it was the bottleneck in not securing a pastor. The old parsonage was sold for $6000. The Gross home at 604 First St. was purchased for $11,875. The coal furnace was converted to oil and an additional $300. Money could be borrowed at the local bank to purchase a parsonage since it was a dwelling and not a church.
Reverend Ivan Smith and his wife were invited to come to Kirkland as a prospective pastor. The pulpit committee hosted a dinner for them in the yard of Shade and Doris Franklin. The next week John & Gertrude Gates and Frank and Jan Shinstrom drove to Pasco to hear him preach. Their reaction was favorable so his name was presented to the congregation. The Smiths arrived in September with Reverend Smith's mother.
Reverend Smith proposed an idea of dividing the parish into geographic units called church
colonies. There would be a key family in each area who would call on each family once during the
year and would arrange to hold one-colony meetings of families annually. This would help the
minister learn of the needs of the members and would develop fellowship, he maintained. The
deacons and deaconesses were skeptical and felt it would be difficult to get key families. He
persisted and kept bringing up the idea but it was never set up.