Kenmore welcome sign, HWY 522. Courtesy City of Kenmore
First grocery store (opened 1919), intersection of Bothell Way and 68th Avenue NE. Courtesy Kenmore Heritage Society
Aerial (facing west) of main intersection and drive-in theater, Kenmore, December 1972. Photo by AEROLIST Inc


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Named for a village in Scotland, Kenmore is a community built on the hills and north shoreline of Lake Washington. The earliest known residents were the Sts’-ahp-absh people, who once wintered where the Sammamish River flows into Lake Washington. Non-Native settlers found their way to Kenmore even before Washington became a state in 1889. First came the loggers who moved timber by skid and rail to the shoreline, bound for mills down-lake. Early families brought the trappings of community life: a school and churches sprang up. Kenmore was famous (some say infamous) for its eating establishments, roadhouses, and dance halls along the Bothell Highway. Contraband whiskey was available during Prohibition. Business and commerce followed, with Kenmore becoming a road, rail, water, and air transportation hub. For several decades, Kenmore beaches were an idyllic lakeside destination. The community even had a nudist camp artfully located off the highway. In the World War II years, Kenmore became a bedroom community for Seattle and continues in that role today, although several thousand jobs now exist within its borders. Kenmore residents incorporated as a city in 1998. Its estimated population in 2018 was 23,093.

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