Kirk had planned for his namesake town to be the “Pittsburgh of the West,” once his steel mill was up and running. Unfortunately, the Panic of 1893 caused investors to back out and Kirk’s dream went unfulfilled. But with streets laid and houses built, realtors convinced people to buy property in the bucolic town on the other side of Lake Washington.
By 1905, these residents became frustrated with having to deal with street improvements, sanitary conditions, and unchecked development, and a petition was presented to the King County Commissioners to incorporate the community as a fourth class town. An election was held for the 400 residents. The incorporation vote passed 60-49, and the incorporation document was certified on October 12, 1905.
Dr. H. E. Bradley was elected the first mayor, but resigned after attending one council meeting. The council then elected R. H. Collins to fill out his term.