The old Kirkland Cannery building stands at 640 Eighth Ave. The wood-frame structure was built in 1935 by the Works Progress Administration. In June 2001 the cannery closed after years of canning produce for local families and then evolved into a smokehouse and did custom-smoking for local fishermen. The Cannery also sold a line of smoked products.
The Kirkland Cannery Building was completed in 1936 as a project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA).
The Pound family took over operation of the Cannery in 1947 and continued operations until the closure of Kirkland Custom Seafood in 2001. Today, the Pound Family continues to own the Cannery building. In recent years, the Kirkland Cultural Council approached the Pound family to propose exploring the potential to preserve the Cannery Building for community use.
In 1939, during the Great Depression, Washington State operated four cooperative canneries, all funded by the federal Works Progress Administration (WPA). Canneries at Kirkland and Kent served families from as far as away Everett and Tacoma. Any family with an income of less than $100 a month could bring fruit, vegetables and meat to the cannery to preserve them for the winter. The cannery kept one third of the canned fruits and vegetables and sent them to state and county hospitals and prisons.
In this July 1939 photo, women prepare tomatoes, cherries, green beans and other produce under the supervision of staff members at the Kirkland Cooperative Cannery. In 1938, the Kirkland cannery produced 400,000 cans of fruits, vegetables and meat products and assisted 10,030 families and 16 organizations. The Kirkland cannery closed in 2001 and the community is currently discussing its future use.
Special thanks to the Kirkland Heritage Society for granting access to their archives and for their tireless efforts to record and preserve our history and to the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI).