The city of Kenmore will be turning 21 years old in August, however, the history of the continuously expanding city existed decades before it was finally incorporated in 1998.
The land was first named after the small town of Kenmore, Canada in 1889 by John McMasters, according to the city website. Originally, the area was only occupied by the mill, a cookhouse and few houses.
Men enjoyed hunting in marshes along the Sammamish River and loggers used Lake Washington to find debris for roofs and sides of houses. The website states that more homes were erected following the first World War and the city progressed greatly.
Kenmore built its first school in 1914 and children were picked up in a milk truck with benches placed inside every morning and afternoon. They finally acquired a real school bus in 1920.
The population began to flourish in Kenmore and the city was officially incorporated on Aug. 31, 1998.
Assistant city manager Nancy Ousley has worked and lived in Kenmore since 2007. The city looked hardly recognizable compared to now, she explained.
Her first project oversaw the design and construction of the new City Hall, while the old building became a post office. The 2008 recession slowed down the construction process, yet public projects remained strong.
“During the recession, it was the public projects that were able to move forward when private development was less feasible,” said Ousley. “Public projects really just set the table for how private projects could then proceed.”
The Kenmore library, with the King County Library System was completed just after the City Hall. The complementary buildings helped make downtown more inviting and walkable, said Ousley.
As the town continues to grow, more activities and social events have been created to boost community involvement. Various opportunities for entertainment range from visiting art galleries to biking the Burke-Gilman Trail.
For active residents, the Kenmore Waterfront Activities Center in Squire’s Landing Park offers activities for beginner and advanced water sport athletes. The club includes canoeing, kayaking, rowing, paddle-boarding and dragon boating. KWAC provides opportunities for competitive and recreational participation.
Guests and locals alike enjoy hiking St. Edward State Park on the eastern shore of Lake Washington. Mountain biking is a popular activity throughout the trails, and various paths lead across the park. A big toy structure is admired by children and picnic tables are available for lunch breaks. Soccer, softball, bird watching, swimming and fishing are all offered in the Holmes Point area for added action.
“Not a lot of communities can say they live on Lake Washington,” said Ousley.
One goal from the last five to seven years has been working to advance the community’s connection to the water, she explained. The city is constantly aiming to promote the image of Kenmore, support local businesses and create a more livable downtown area.
People the same age or older than Kenmore are welcome to relish in the endless possibilities of beverages along the Burke-Gilman Trail, otherwise known as “Brew Row.” Cairn Brewing, 192 Brewing Co. and Nine Yards Brewing are crowd favorites.
Those interested in outdoor venues should check out the summer concerts or movies open to the whole city. Saint Edward State Park is hosting a variety of artists to celebrate its 17th free concert series in Kenmore. The Kenmore Town Square will also be showing a four-piece movie series of family-friendly films on a large outdoor inflatable screen.
For special nights out on the town, families and friends can check out the city’s 4th of July fireworks show or share a quick laugh at a comedy night on July 12. Regardless, opportunities for participation or entertainment are always available in Kenmore.