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THEN AND NOW: The Peter Kirk Building, Kirkland's Coolest Old Structure?

Now home to the Kirkland Arts Center and shown here in 1945, over the years it has seen many manifestations.

What would a walk or drive along Market Street be without Kirkland’s signature historic structure there at 7th Avenue, the “Peter Kirk Building"?

Now home to the and shown here in late 1945 and earlier this year, the structure was built sometime between 1889 and 1892—sources conflict—by none other than founding father Peter Kirk of the Kirkland Investment Company.

The corner tower is what catches the eye, wonderfully accented by the Victorian-style architecture.

Originally it was called the Kirkland Investment Company Building; now, many refer to it simply as the Kirkland Arts Center. But while local historians such as Loita Hawkinson of the Kirkland Heritage Society say we’re wrong, those of us who have lived around here for a spell have always referred to it as the Peter Kirk Building.

The actual Peter Kirk Building was just across the street, she says, and torn down many years ago.

However, a rose is the same by any name, as they say, and the structure, apparently made with bricks of local clay, has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1973.

The “Then” picture appeared in the Eastside Journal on Dec. 13, 1945. The article stated that the building was built by the Kirkland Investment Company and was originally operated as a dry goods store by Guptil and Evans.

Apparently the store occupied the ground floor while the investment company was above, with Peter Kirk’s office in the corner turret.

By late 1945 the building had been remodeled and was occupied by Eastside Furniture.

It eventually was returned to its original design and occupied by the Kirkland Art Center, which is both a gallery offering regular exhibits and an education center offering classes in painting, sketching, ceramics, clay and other media.

I can’t think of anything more appropriate for such an artistic old structure as the Peter Kirk Building.

Jerry Gropp Architect AIA April 04, 2011 at 11:34 PM
I've often wondered if Paul Kirk Architect FAIA (one of my best architect mentors) was related to said Peter Kirk. He lived up there on Finn Hill at the end of his long, architecturally inspiring life. I hope you'll write about Finn Hill, I'll write about Paul Hayden Kirk FAIA, include his Washington State Official State Biography. Click here: Docomomo WEWA - Mid Century Modern Architects or this- http://www.docomomo-wewa.org/architects_gallery.php
Jerry Gropp Architect AIA April 05, 2011 at 12:47 AM
Here's a better link to Paul Kirk Architect FAIA on DoCoMoMo- http://www.docomomo-wewa.org/architects_detail.php?id=48

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