The Museum is located in the historic Bereiter House at 855 East Smith Street.
Parking is available behind the house off East Temperance Street.
The Museum is open Wednesday through Saturday, from noon to 4 p.m. and by appointment.
Phone # (253) 854-4330
Admission is by a suggested $2 donation; no tickets are required for entrance to the Museum.
The Greater Kent Historical Society (GKHS) is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization in the state of Washington that promotes the discovery, preservation and dissemination of knowledge about the history of the greater Kent area.
All donations are tax deductible as allowed by IRS law.
GKHS operates the Kent Historical Museum.
Please see our profile on GuideStar.org for more details.
Remember to Vote!
This seemed very pertinent to us all these days! It was found on the back of an industry booklet put… [more]
Ozark Mountaineers Dance Band
Planning on going out dancing this weekend? Back in 1926 you may have been dancing to this band- the… [more]
Kent’s First Bowling Alley
With the weather getting chilly and wet, indoor activities are looking good! In 1900 they had the same… [more]
November's Kent Chronicles are titled: "Conversations About the Vietnam Conflict: An oral history of… [more]
Visit Kent in 1909
While scanning the archives we found a thick brochure that was missing the cover, but seemed to be a… [more]
With the weather getting chilly and wet, indoor activities are looking good! In 1900 they had the same idea- here was Kent’s first Bowling Alley!
(The only name noted was Emil Nelson who was 3rd from the right).
November’s Kent Chronicles are titled: “Conversations About the Vietnam Conflict: An oral history of Kent area participants- The Story of John Walker”.
Plan to attend one of our two talks on November 3rd or 5th at 11am here at the Museum!
While scanning the archives we found a thick brochure that was missing the cover, but seemed to be a tourist book for people visiting for the Great Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in 1909! It covered all of the surrounding communities, including two pages on Kent! They are shown here in full, then with blown up details to make them easier to read.
“…Kent is especially attractive as a home city. The people point with pride to their churches, their handsome public school building, their pretty homes, bordered usually with handsome large yards, beautiful with flower beds and growing gardens. Almost every home has a well kept and fruitful orchard. An especially attractive feature of living here is the fact that a person can live so much cheaper than in the city and have all the advantages enjoyed by a city dweller. Here one gets the advantages of a healthful life under the bright sun and away from the dirt and dust of the crowded city…”
Here’s a photo of the Kent High School band in 1927- love those outfits!
(Shown is: Frank R., Herman Youngman, Forest Rol, Bearge Marsh, Glen Gohlinger, Jack Sears, Russell Faulkner; 2nd row: Ralph McIntosh, Melvin Marlowe, Robert Kirshner, Louis Becvar, Richard Kirshner, John Owen Taylor, James McCulloch, Ellis Anderson, Sidney Leeper, Hadly Chamberlain, Sandford Sevetson, Bently Saultern, Herbert Baldwin, Shirley Hunt, Harold Roder; Last row: William Timis, Billy Stover, Hunt, ?, Robert, Kenneth Faulkner, Richard Ry?, Mr. Vincent A. Hiden)
With football season upon us, we’d like to honor one of our great high school coaches, Coach Claude French.
Claude French was born in Washington in 1894 and attended Kent High School where he enjoyed playing sports, lettering in both football and basketball. After graduating in 1913, French did a tour of duty in the US Navy in WWI and earned a degree from Stout State College in Menomonie, Wisconsin. When he returned to Kent, he became Kent High School’s coach and woodworking teacher. When Kent High School moved up the hill to merge with Meridian High School, and became Kent Meridian High School, he moved with them. For forty years he coached not only football, but wrestling and basketball as well. He led many teams to championships over the years, but even more, he seems to have made a great impact upon generation of students. Here is an excerpt out of the 1961 “Diadem” (Kent Meridian’s yearbook) the year he retired:
“…’he was a builder of men.’ …Grim in demeanor, thrifty of speech, unbending in principle and morals, Claude French evoked respect and discipline among those under him because he could first discipline himself. Getting to know him has been an enriching experience for teacher and student alike. He has been Kent-Meridian- the sudden twinkle of merriment in his piercing brown eyes, the friendly pressure of competent square fingers on the shoulder of one in need of understanding and encouragement, the crooked beloved smile of appreciation for achievement, kindliness, fundamental decency- these are the qualities of nature that make the sturdy thickset figure of Claude French gigantic in stature…”
This “builder of men” was honored by having the stadium at Kent Meridian High School named after him- now known to all of us as French Field. There is also a trophy named after him. The Claude French Trophy is given to the Kent High School with the most overall wins that year.
Coach Claude French passed away in October 1966, but he is still held in high regards to those who remember him and benefited from his kind leadership.
-by Michelle Gehlman-Teeter
(Shown above is Claude French’s Kent High School football team his senior year in 1912. He is in the front, middle. Shown below is the 1961 Diadem yearbook photo of Coach Claude French the year he retired from Kent Meridian High School.)
An enlightening article written for the 1911 Kent High School periodical “The Criterion”. It is about starting up agricultural science courses and why it’s important to do so. It’s interesting that they were worried about their finite resources even back then! Written by Patrick F. Costello.
Did you know… the valley used to grow hops for beer? Pictured are a group of Native Americans who helped with the hops. Many traveled great distances to assist with the harvest, some as far as Wrangell, Alaska and British Columbia. Pickers reportedly earned around a dollar per day. In the 1890’s the hop plants became infested with lice and along with the fall in the price of hops, this industry came to an end in the valley. Ezra Meeker and CM VanDoren had the largest hop farms in the valley. Meeker had 60 acres and VanDoren had 25 acres.