Historic Preservation

 Photo of Kirkland ferry dock in 1923.

Historic Preservation in Kirkland

Are you interested in learning more about the history of Kirkland's built environment? Do you want to know how to find historic information on individual properties in the City?  Do you need help understanding how to maintain and preserve a historic structure you own? This webpage provides:

  • Resources to help property owners preserve historic structures

  • Information about historic structures in the City

  • Highlights of past City projects to promote historic preservation


Protecting Historic Structures

Why is Historic Preservation Important?

Kirkland neighborhoods contain many historic structures representing a variety of architectural styles and historic time periods, and providing a record of Kirkland’s development. The loss of any historic structures in these neighborhoods adversely impacts our community character. Preventing this loss and protecting community character and historic resources are consistent with and supported by the City's Comprehensive Plan. It is in the public interest to preserve this rich architectural diversity and tangible connections with Kirkland’s past. Historic preservation programs and the historic structure designation process provides an opportunity for historic structures to be recognized, appreciated, and preserved. 

Designating Your Historic Property

Getting Started 

Do you own a property that is at least 40 years old and has any of the below characteristics?  If so, the property may be eligible for designation as a Historic Residence in the City or as a King County Landmark.  The easiest way to start learning if your property might be able to be designated as a historic residence or landmark is to contact our Planning staff at 425-587-3600 or submitting a question via Our Kirkland.

Characteristics for Historic Properties Designation 

a)    Is associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of national, state or local history; or

b)    Is associated with the lives of persons significant in national, state or local history; or

c)    Embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, style or method of design or construction, or that represents a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction; or

d)    Has yielded, or may be likely to yield, information important in prehistory or history; or

e)    Is an outstanding work of a designer or builder who has made a substantial contribution to the art; or,

f)    Other special characteristics associated with the historic use, associated people, or time periods.

Why Designate Your Property? 

 Designated properties may be eligible to take advantage of flexibility provisions in the Zoning Code, that are intended to make it easier to make changes to your property while preserving the historic structure.  Designated and/or landmarked structures may also be available for grant funding or property tax exemptions to help you preserve and maintain your property.  For more information, visit the 4Culture Grants & Preservation Programs and King County Office of Historic Preservation, or contact City of Kirkland staff to get started! 

Short Plat/Subdivision Flexibility for Historic Residences

Are you interested in subdividing a property with an existing historic residence?  You may be able to use subdivision regulations that allow for smaller lot sizes when you are preserving a historic residence.  Additional flexibility may also be available for setbacks, lot coverage, and floor area ratio when needed to maintain the historic residence.  Contact our Planning staff at 425-587-3600 or submit a question via Our Kirkland to learn more! 


Historic Structures & Properties in Kirkland

The City retains property information on individual properties identified as potentially eligible for historic designation because of their age, architectural integrity, representation of a specific time period in Kirkland's history, and more.  This information has been collected at several points in time throughout Kirkland's history, by observing eligible buildings and documenting individual property characteristics and known history.  Information gathered from these historic property surveys are available on the City's interactive GIS browser.

How to Research Historic Property Information in the GIS Map

To get started, you can learn how to use the GIS Map using the below tutorial: 

View GIS Tutorial Document(PDF, 5MB)

  • Information on potentially historic properties can be viewed by toggling on the “Property History” layer. Expand the “Planning” layer by clicking the + button on the left side of the browser. 

  • Click the box to toggle on the “Planning” Layer.  Click the box to toggle on the “Property History” layer (note, toggling off the “City Zoning” layer will make it easier to see the Property History layer).


  • The “Property History” layer includes both properties that are potentially eligible for historic designation and still present, and properties that were surveyed in the past but have been demolished.  Demolished properties can be viewed by toggling on the “Demolished Structure” layer after clicking the + button to the left of the “Property History” layer.

  • When viewing the map, existing structures show up as a green icon; demolished structures as a red icon.

  • HistoricGIS_HowTo_2.jpg

  • To view information about a specific property, you can select the “Identify” button on the top of the browser and click, or drag a box, around the property icon. You can view information by clicking on the “Existing Structure – Property History” result on the left hand side of the window.


  • Clicking on the arrow to the right of the “Existing Structure – Property History” result will bring up a tab on the bottom of the browser that lists more details about the property


  • You can find past historic inventory forms, and other documents, by navigating to the “Historic Prop Doc Data Link” tab and opening the pdf documents.  The “HP_FILE_NAME” column provides a more descriptive title of each document.



Recent Historic Preservation Projects

  • Replacement of Historic Interpretive Markers in Heritage Park, Marsh Park, and near Kirkland Arts Center

 Completed in 2020 with support from 4Culture

HeritagePark_HistoricSign_1.jpg   MarshPark_HistoricSign_1.jpg   KAC_HistoricSign_2.jpg

  • Historic Document Scanning Project and GIS Browser Integration

Completed 2020 with support from 4Culture

  • Landmark Designation of the Historic Buchanan House

Completed in 2018

  • Mid-Century Historic Residences Survey 

Completed in 2016 with support from 4Culture

Read More About Kirkland History

Historic Context Statement Survey (1992)(PDF, 21MB)

Historic Resources Survey and Inventory Report (1999)(PDF, 14MB)

Mid-Century Historic Residences Survey (2016)(PDF, 914KB)




The images seen on this webpage were provided courtesy of the Kirkland Heritage Society.  The City of Kirkland undertakes historic preservation projects with the support of staff from King County's Historic Preservation Program through an interlocal agreement with the County.  Several of the recent historic preservation projects highlighted on this page were made possible with grant funding received from 4Culture.