Northlake was founded in 1961, the culmination of an idea of Lola Reynolds, Betty Jirucha, and Ellen Hanly, members of East Shore UU at the time. These women were convinced there needed to be a liberal fellowship to serve Kirkland and the northern shore of Lake Washington. Twelve couples then met and drafted the first bylaws and elected temporary officers. Northlake’s first home was rented space at the Cadle Theatre at Lake Washington HS. A congregation of 21 families established the fellowship and church school. Northlake’s official charter was issued by the Unitarian Universalist Association on May 15, 1961 – the very first charter issued after the merger of the Unitarians and Universalists. Northlake purchased their first building – a former mortuary – on First Street in downtown Kirkland in November 1962.
By the end of the 1980’s, the church’s membership had grown to 140, they offered two Sunday services and their religious education classrooms were overflowing. St Paul’s Lutheran Church in Kirkland was closing and selling its property and the City of Kirkland was expanding its campus. In 1994 Northlake took the opportunity to sell their First Street property to the city and purchased the main church building currently occupied.
In 2005 Northlake undertook the Chapel project. The pre-war Chapel currently sitting next to the main building also belonged to the Lutherans and used to sit where our current sanctuary is. It had been sold and moved in 1964 to the funeral home across the street to make way for Northlake’s main church building occupied now. In 1996 that property was sold to a developer and in 2005 when the developer began development, they offered the chapel to Northlake. The congregation decided that the chapel should be returned to its former home.
It took over 10,000 labor hours and numerous hurdles to complete the project. In 2009 the chapel was dedicated and renamed the “Northlake Chapel”.