Kent was incorporated in 1890, second only to Seattle in King County. The city was a major grower of hops and berries, and at one time was considered the “Lettuce Capital of the World.” Dairy farming was also an important sector of Kent’s early economy. In 1899, the first can of Carnation Milk was produced in Kent. Timber harvesting and agriculture remained dominant industries until the 1950’s, when industrial production developed on Kent’s valley floor.
The city’s geographic size has increased from one square mile in 1953 to our current size of 29 square miles. Construction of the Howard Hanson Dam in the early 1960s began economic change in the valley and the transformation of a rural community into an industrial center. With the assurance that farmland in the valley would no longer be subjected to regular flooding, more than 10,000 acres of land was opened up for construction of homes, shopping centers, commercial enterprises and industrial development.
Construction of a freeway (SR 167) in 1969, linking Renton, Kent and Auburn with connections to Seattle and Tacoma, provided further enticement for eager developers. And when the ports of Seattle and Tacoma were modernized and Sea Tac International Airport was restructured, warehouses, distribution centers and manufacturing plants began spreading along the valley floor, including The Boeing Company in 1965. As Boeing’s demand for high-tech products increased, a number of companies sprouted up to supply those products.
Sharing in the pride of Kent’s history are its businesses who have played a large part in shaping the city’s past and continue to influence its future. Along with their contributions to the economy, many business leaders have worked on preserving Kent’s quality of life.
Download the Kent Community Profile for a brief history, neighborhoods, list of schools, parks, restaurants, utilities and emergency phone numbers. (PDF)
Bio Provided by: www.kentchamber.com