Kent is a city located in King County, Washington, United States, and is the third largest city in King County and the sixth largest in the state. An outlying suburb of Seattle, Kent is also the corporate home for companies such as REI and Oberto Sausage. Nearby towns include Renton and Tukwila to the north, Covington to the east, Federal Way, Des Moines and SeaTac to the west, and Auburn, Federal Way, unincorporated King County and part of Covington to the south. The population as of April, 2010 was 92,411 according to the 2010 census. The total grew to an estimated 120,916 as of July 1, 2011, owing primarily to annexation.
The Kent area was first permanently settled by westerners in the early 1860s, and originally called Titusville (there is still a 'Titusville Station' sign on Gowe St).
During the 1880s the town discovered hops production as the major source of income. Due to an aphid invasion which affected hops crops in Europe, hops from the Puget Sound area were commanding high prices. Hops were shipped from Titusville either by the river or via rail. Eventually the town was even renamed for Kent County in England. Hops production in the valley would come to an end due to an invasion of aphids.
Kent was officially incorporated on May 28, 1890 with a population of 793, the second city incorporated in King County after Seattle.
After the turn of the 20th century the area turned to dairy farming, and was home to a Carnation Condensed Milk plant. Flooding from both the Green and the White Rivers was a constant problem. In 1906, flooding changed the course of the White River, which reduced the flood hazard by half. The Green River continued to present problems until the creation of the Howard A. Hanson Dam at Eagle Gorge in 1962.
During and after the Great Depression, Kent was known as the "Lettuce Capital of the World." After WWII, Kent began to grow more rapidly. From 1953 to 1960 the city's size grew twelve-fold. In 1965 Boeing began building in Kent, followed a few years later by other aerospace and high-tech companies.
Throughout the 1980s, Kent residents had a reputation for being "rednecks". The city was frequently parodied by the Seattle sketch comedy show Almost Live. Sketches included Cops in Kent, where officers would stop a woman for not having big enough hair or stop a man for not wearing a John Deere baseball cap. In 1994, the show's producer announced that they would stop making fun of Kent, a promise they kept for three days.
In 1992, the Greater Kent Historical Society was formed with the intent of promoting the discovery, preservation and dissemination of knowledge about the history of the greater Kent area. In 1996, the City of Kent purchased the historic Bereiter house, the home of one of Kent's early mayors, for use as the Kent Historical Museum. The museum is operated by the Greater Kent Historical Society.