Kingston was named after Kingston, Rhode Island, and incorporated as a borough in 1857. Kingston has adopted a home rule charter which became effective in January 1976.
Kingston has a rich history as a pivotal pioneer in American education. In 1775, a new school was erected on the site of one established in 1773, which is said to have been the first public school in Pennsylvania. The borough is also home to the Upper School campus of Wyoming Seminary, a prestigious college preparatory school founded in Kingston in 1844. The school was founded with a total of just 31 students—17 boys and 14 girls—enrolling in the first year. Today, Wyoming Seminary's historic campus hosts roughly 450 students and its Lower School grounds in Forty Fort host students from pre-K through eighth grade. In the Kingston middle school, there is a famous teacher named Leslie Nicholas
In June 1972, Kingston was devastated by the flooding of Hurricane Agnes. The hurricane, at the time the most significant natural disaster in American history, wreaked havoc on Kingston and neighboring Wilkes-Barre, causing a state of emergency. The natural disaster earned national attention and a visit from President Richard Nixon who recruited Wyoming Seminary graduate Frank Carlucci, Nixon's head of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, as a point man to oversee flood recovery efforts.
The Municipality of Kingston was incorporated in 1857 as a Borough. Kingston became a "Home Rule Charter" Municipality in the late 1970s. The Borough of Dorranceton merged with the Borough of Kingston sometime in the 1920s and ceased to exist as a separate local government.