HAROLD P. EVEREST went by “Dick,” but unlike most with the nickname, the great early promoter and supporter of Kirkland and namesake for the city's and Everest Neighborhood, was not named “Richard.”
One historical explanation for the origin of the nickname “Dick” relies on a medieval tongue-tied set of Viking descendents. The Normans, who resided in northern France, trilled their “R” sounds in a manner that came off sounding like the letter “D.” So when the English attempted to imitate the Norman’s pronunciation of “R-names” like “Richard,” the result was a “D-name.”
There are many other speculations for how “Richards” became “Dicks.” But Harold Everest’s life story, and how the moniker befell him, is clearer. Everest’s Pacific Northwest success story begins with his father’s failure.
Albert Everest came to Kirkland in 1888 when founder Peter Kirk was gambling on the city’s potential as a thriving steel town. When the Panic of 1893 struck – a catastrophic economic depression caused by irresponsible railroad speculation – work dried up and Al Everest returned to Wisconsin.
But he returned in 1906 with a family in tow, Harold included. Harold was one of Kirkland’s hometown boys: he was educated, patriotic, and devoted to the city’s growth. He graduated from Kirkland High School in 1912, served in World War I and owned the East Side Journal newspaper. Harold eventually became a chairman of the Journalism Department at the University of Washington.
Nicknames are, for the most part, out of our control: they are chosen for us and not by us. But what we’re really known for – our reputation – is determine by what we do and how we act, not by what we’re called. Harold P. Everest’s dedication to hard work and respect for civic commitment is a lasting example of that tenet.
And how Harold eventually came to be known as “Dick” will be told this Wednesday by Loita Hawkinson during the Kirkland Heritage Society’s Feb. 29 meeting at in Kirkland beginning at 7 p.m.
Trent Latta is an attorney and member of Kirkland's Cultural Council. He may be contacted at TrentLatta@gmail.com.