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A Look To The Past: Kirkland: From wilderness to high-tech - Kirkland history in 50 vignettes Paperback – November 23, 2010
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About the Author
Matt McCauley’s family built a house on Juanita’s Little Finn Hill in 1963, the year before his birth. His parents, great aunt and uncle, grandparents, and aunt and uncle purchased several acres of land from Charles and Helma Fowler, who had resided there since the early 1930s. After clearing the land themselves, with chain saws and bulldozers, family members built, one after another, four homes, in which they lived for years. Their land was part of Juanita’s first land plat, which was filed in February, 1912 by Charles B. Harris as Harris Juanita Acres. When Matt was a young boy, Juanita was part of unincorporated King County and it still had a rural sensibility. In his early years he was surrounded by woods, undeveloped wetlands, livestock grazing in pastures, dirt roads with wheel ruts, and a scattering of neighbors, most of whom knew one another. He attended A.G. Bell Elementary from 1969 until 1976, where he played soccer and baseball. As a child the stories of old Kirkland that he heard from community elders fascinated him and inspired his searches in old barns and pastures for 'treasures'. Matt moved to Mercer Island in 1976 and graduated from Mercer Island High School in 1982. He learned to SCUBA dive in 1978, and that enabled a lifelong fascination with exploration of Lake Washington and Puget Sound, most especially vessel and aircraft wrecks, and other points of historic interest. He received considerable media attention in 1984-85 when he and high school friend, Jeff Hummel, were sued by the US Navy for salvaging a World War II naval dive bomber from the lake. The two won the suit and went on to recover four other World War II military aircraft in 1987. He returned to Kirkland in 1988 and participated in the Kirkland Heritage Society’s 1993 resurrection. He was the founding editor of its award-winning newsletter, Blackberry Preserves. That year he began publishing his popular “A Look to the Past” history columns in The Kirkland Courier. McCauley is an alumnus of both Seattle University, where he majored in journalism, and Seattle University School of Law. He lived on the east coast for 13 years, where he owned a business comprising 20 espresso cafes and a commercial coffee roasting plant. He returned to Kirkland in 2010 and lives in Juanita with his sons, Cam, 12, and Jake, 14. Many members of his extended family remain in the Juanita and Finn Hill communities. His father, writer William McCauley, edited this book. He resides in Auburn.
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Since I myself am not a writer, I struggle to put into words what it is I felt each time I learned something. I'd be reading and say out loud "Oh! Forbes Lake! He tried to grow cranberries there! That's where my friend's family lived!" or "Geez, we always called it Houghton Beach, but I never thought of how it got its name!" The naming of Juanita was my favorite as that is my home in Kirkland! What gems these bits of trivia and and historical facts are to me! I loved reading about the pioneers, the people many of the Eastside's cities were named after. The people who created my hometown! I loved reading about their way of life, and their children, and the progression and development of the area. The first settlers, ferry, roads, buildings, businesses, beaches, schools, and so much more!
I will say that I was surprised at the amount of information and visuals this book has! I am awed at just how much effort and time must have been put into this book. The author dug in to his research with tenacity and love (what else could it be?), and has given us something wonderful! I think it would be amazing if every city had a book like this for its residents to learn from and enjoy.
I first purchased this book as a gift for my wife's aunt who was born in Kirkland Hospital in the early 40's. It sparked so much interest with the family that I purchased another half dozen as gifts. A year later, and this book is always a topic of conversation with family members. I can honestly say this book has brought much joy to our elder Kirkland family who have not been back here in decades.
The entire family enjoys the book. It has a permanent spot on my parents coffee table.
Thank you for all your hard work putting this together.
Clearly, this book is a nostalgic walk down memory lane for people who were born and raised in Kirkland. However, it is also a great way for a newcomer to discover the hidden depths of the area. Read this book and the next time you stroll through Marina Park or meet up with a friend on Park Lane for dinner, you will be thinking of the Kirklanders who founded, built, and lived there.