Kirkland is a city of over 88,000 today, but when the US government opened the eastern shore of Lake Washington for homesteading in 1870, it was an unforgiving, mostly unpopulated primeval forest of giant old-growth conifers and tangles of undergrowth. Over the next two decades, hardscrabble pioneers gradually braved the wilds to stake and prove up 80- and 160-acre land claims. In 1887, a consortium of speculators, developers, and dreamers headed by a dynamic English steel industrialist sought to transform the scattered wilderness ranches into a steel manufacturing center, the "Pittsburgh of the West." A boomtown was born, but within a few years, the steel scheme imploded, leaving in its ruins a few resilient families who undertook the arduous, decades-long struggle to forge a town. Early Kirkland provides a new look into Kirkland's past, from its beginning to 1940.