Kenmore, Washington is located on the northernmost shores of Lake Washington in King County, Washington. Prominent features include several waterside parks, the nation's largest seaplane-only commercial air facility, Bastyr University, easy access to the Burke-Gilman Trail and the King County bike-trail system. Also of local historical interest is the former St. Edward Seminary, now Saint Edward State Park. Kenmore's official city flower is the dahlia, the official city bird is the great blue heron, and the official city evergreen is the rhododendron. The population was 18,678 at the 2000 census.
Kenmore is part of the Northshore School District, and is also home to Bastyr University, a leading private school of naturopathic medicine founded in 1978 and accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). Kenmore is also located between the University of Washington's main campus in Seattle and its satellite campus and the co-located Cascadia Community College in nearby Bothell, with paved bike trails and express bus service connecting the city to all three schools. The city also has a bus connection directly to Shoreline Community College, but not an easy bicycle link.
Founded in 1901, Kenmore's name comes third-hand from the Scottish village of Kenmore, via town founder John McMasters' home town of Kenmore, Ontario. John and his wife Anne arrived in Puget Sound circa 1889 from Canada, intending to establish themselves in the shingle-making trade, eventually opening their own shingle mill on the northern shore of Lake Washington on land leased from Watson Squire. By 1903, Kenmore had established a school system and post office , but did not formally incorporate as a city until August 31, 1998.
Despite cargo railway service passing through the area as early as 1887 via the Seattle, Lake Shore, and Eastern Railroad, most access to the city in its early days was by boat, with regular ferry service to Seattle, Bothell, and Woodinville starting in 1906. The city later gained a passenger railroad stop. The first improved road connection to Seattle and Bothell—the Red Brick Road—opened between 1913 and 1914, with bus service following the laying of the bricks.
During Prohibition, Kenmore became locally famous in Seattle for country dining and, probably more importantly, country drinking, as a substantial illegal alcohol industry developed to meet the demands of Seattle nightlife. Being located on Bothell Way—one of the few improved roads then heading north from Seattle—it was nonetheless far enough out that Department of Revenue officers could, for the most part, safely ignore it.
The Blind Pig, a roadhouse on Shuter's Landing onto Lake Washington, was probably the most famous of the Kenmore speakeasys. Being lakeside, its illegal hooch could be dumped into the lake quickly and easily should it become necessary. However, despite its notoriety, the Pig was not the city's most infamous saloon; routine violent fist-fights at Inglewood Tavern earned that establishment an alternative name: The Bucket of Blood. This archipelago of dining and entertainment that evolved in the city - over 30 different restaurants, dance halls, bars, and clubs in a three-block area - remained a major part of Kenmore's identity through the 1940s.
Once the Great Depression hit the nation, Kenmore became home for a small settlement of workers under President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Back to the Land program. Paid by the Works Progress Administration, a small number of workers settled in an area of northwestern Kenmore which became known as "Voucherville," after the vouchers the WPA paid in lieu of a cash salary.
After World War II, Kenmore became home to Kenmore Air Harbor, which today is one of the world's largest seaplane-only airports. Kenmore Air itself operates a fleet of seaplanes serving waterside destinations throughout Cascadia. At the same time, the town's immediate proximity to Seattle—just two miles north of modern Seattle city limits—made it an early target of post-war housing development; the first homes in the new Uplake neighborhood were sold in 1954. Housing development continued throughout the Kenmore area for the next several decades, mostly following the postwar suburban model. The city also gained its first college in 1996, with the relocation of Bastyr University from Seattle onto the grounds of the former St. Edward Seminary.
Following Kenmore's incorporation, the new city government set about devising a local set of zoning codes and a downtown development plan with the intent of reviving and rebuilding the traditional core areas of the city. A significant component of this plan involves extensive use of land now owned by the city, in the area known within the plan as the Northwest Quadrant. An open invitation was extended to all architects and developers to submit development plans for this newly-available area in December, 2005; the City Council chose to negotiate primarily with Kenmore Partners LLC in April of 2006.
- The Jewel Box building in downtown Kenmore is a Seattle World's Fair artifact, moved from Seattle Center to Kenmore after the end of the fair in October, 1962.
- The Red Brick Road, rebuilt and expanded several years later, became Squire Road, then, after World War I, Victory Boulevard. After World War II, it was renamed—yet again—to Bothell Way, the name it has today.
- Several local roads now known by their standard county-assigned numeric names once had more traditional names; 61st Avenue NE, for example, was Cat's Whiskers Road.
- Kenmore hosts the one of the last industrial water ports on Lake Washington, serving the local concrete and building industries, in addition to Kenmore Air Harbor.
- In the 1920's, Kenmore hosted at least two known nudist camps, both of which were short-lived.
- BRING IT, COPPERS: "The Blind Pig" speakeasy flaunted its illegal status; indeed, the name itself was, in fact, a slang term for "speakeasy."
- Home to the LARGEST bowling alley west of Mississippi River with 50 lanes, the world famous bowler Oliver B Votteler once rolled a 178 at these prized lanes.