Kensington residents success-fully petitioned the Maryland Gen-eral Assembly in 1894 to allow thetown to be incorporated so it couldbetter handle the demands for civicimprovements.
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 Pasa-dena of the suburbs in the rolling hillsof Maryland. Your children will avoidthe contaminating influences of citylife. …Its people are people of cultureand 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-Amer-ican neighborhood called Ken-Gar,located close to Rock Creek just out-side the Kensington town line, formedduring the first decades of the 20thcentury and still exists.
After World War II, an auto repairsector sprang up on the westernside of Connecticut Avenue, whichbecame known as “Gasoline Alley.”Today, the area still features numer-ous auto repair and body shops.
In 1945, Kensington had a pop-ulation of about 1,500. Today, thetown has more than 2,000 residents,although the Kensington postaladdress includes thousands of otherhomes and addresses, including high-rise apartment buildings, outside thetown limits. n
WHAT’S IN A
Named in 1890 for the London
suburb Kensington Gardens
by Washington financier
Brainard H. Warner
There is a lot of town spirit in
Kensington. The Labor Day parade
feels like you are going back in time.
People really are neighborly and
feel connected. And you can walk
everywhere. That’s how you see
everybody. You walk to the park, the
farmers market, the train, and you run
Lillian Symer on
their front porch