Kensington residents successfully petitioned the Maryland General Assembly in 1894 to allow the
town to be incorporated so it could
better handle the demands for civic
As Kensington grew, promoters
painted a picture of a country retreat,
typified in this excerpt from a sales
pamphlet at the turn of the century:
“Come to Kensington! The Pasadena of the suburbs in the rolling hills
of Maryland. Your children will avoid
the contaminating influences of city
life. …Its people are people of culture
and essential refinement.”
Yet Kensington was hardly an
enclave of white-collar exclusivity.
Adjacent to the railroad tracks were
the busy work yards of the Mizell
Lumber & Hardware Co., founded in
1922. A concrete manufacturing facil-
ity operated nearby for many years.
A working-class, African-American neighborhood called Ken-Gar,
located close to Rock Creek just outside the Kensington town line, formed
during the first decades of the 20th
century and still exists.
After World War II, an auto repair
sector sprang up on the western
side of Connecticut Avenue, which
became known as “Gasoline Alley.”
Today, the area still features numerous auto repair and body shops.
In 1945, Kensington had a population of about 1,500. Today, the
town has more than 2,000 residents,
although the Kensington postal
address includes thousands of other
homes and addresses, including high-rise apartment buildings, outside the
town limits. n
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
Named in 1890 for the London
suburb Kensington Gardens
by Washington financier
Brainard H. Warner
It’s a very walkable town, and it’s very
community oriented. There are always
different events going on here, with
the Labor Day parade, movies in the
park, a Fourth of July bike parade. I
love St. Paul park. It’s a safe place to
ride bikes. People are always out there
with their dogs.
Recruitment director at the Kensington Volunteer Fire Department