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Kennedale
Saturday, September 26, 2020

In less than two years Kennedale will be celebrating 75 years and still rockin

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This past July on the 17th, Kennedale had a quiet birthday. On that day, 73 years earlier in 1947, the City of Kennedale officially became incorporated. The city had its first mayor, city council, city marshal (police chief), and fire department.

Don’t misunderstand, Kennedale as a community had been around a long time. The following is from the Kennedale Historical Society.

“In the city’s formative years, beginning when the land was purchased by Oliver Sylvester Kennedy, John Dixon Hudson, and Colonel Boggs Teague and surveyed by Teague in 1882, its primary resources were a mineral well, several dairies, cotton crops, and a brickyard.[4]

Some of Fort Worth’s most influential and well-known businessmen were instrumental in Kennedale’s early beginnings,[5] as were hard-working individuals and farmers, and the community was known as the “Village of  Kennedale.” The village was incorporated in 1947 and became a city when several of its citizens got together and made this so.[6]  A City of Kennedale Home Rule Charter was adopted in 1997.” You can read more @ https://kennedalehistoricalsociety.wordpress.com/2013/01/03/about/

City government and public safety tackled first …

On Saturday, August 16, 1947 Kennedale had its first vote, electing a mayor, five aldermen, and a city marshal. Voting rolls show that there were 280 possible voters for this election. Winning the election A. L. Bulin for city Mayor, Charles Leroy Cooper, Jeff Garrett, W.W. David, J.L Knotts and James A Arthur for city aldermen (city council).

Frank Bedford was the first city marshal along with Dave Foster as the first policeman who patrolled the city in his own Studebaker pickup. A few years later in 1950, Kennedale formed a volunteer fire department with Marty Peterman and W.W. Gillespie as Fire Chief and Assistant respectively. Thirty men made of the roster and the fire engine was kept at Peterman’s service station. A fire station was completed in 1954.

In 1976 Kennedale formed an ambulance squad sponsored by the Kennedale Fire Department. It was later outsourced to Mid-Cities Ambulance Service but after concerns arose over response time it was re-established as a city service sometime in the mid-’80s.

Water needs became one of the first items addressed …

Water was an issue from the beginning. In 1951 a resolution was passed to issue $65,000 in bonds for a waterworks system. The first city well was drilled in 1952 for $13,508 and the first water tower was constructed to hold 50,000 gallons. The contract for building the waterworks system was for a total of $82,058.17. The first water rate was $3.50 for 2,500 gallons or less and an additional .60 cents for every 1,000 gallons and dropping to .50 cents per 1,000 gallons above $4,500 gallons. The first connections for the city sewer system were made in 1961.

Years later, Kennedale, after soaring water rates and with the city having trouble providing the water needs of the city’s rapidly growing population, an agreement was made with the City of Arlington to provide water and for operating services.

Current property tax rate lower than the city rate in 1956 …

The tax rate for Kennedale has fluctuated over the years. In 1956 the rate was $.75 per $100 and escalated to a high of $1.35 in 1971. It dropped a low of $.32 in 1988. In 1996, it climbed to $.578077. Today it is $.73497.

Efforts to have a public library began in 1992 …

A volunteer organization, Friends of the Kennedale Library (FOLK), was formed in 1992 for the purpose of establishing an accredited public library in the city. Once established it operated for a number of years in the old police department and jail facility located on New Hope Road, one block south of Kennedale Parkway (Bus 287).

The Kennedale Library is now in a cooperative with the cities of Mansfield and Arlington. The cooperative provides Kennedale residents including those in the KISD access to the resources of two much bigger libraries.

The Kennedale Library also provides residents (including Kennedale ISD residents) internet services and public computers as well as a full library of online free videos, ebooks, and audiobooks via the app “Hoopla.”

For Funtime line notes for July 17, 1947 …

The U.S. President was Harry S. Truman. The Texas governor was Beauford Jester who served just two years before dying in office in 1949 (the only Texas governor to die in office). Allan Shivers was his successor.

From the headlines of the Star Telegram …

  • Water Flows in Arlington (after a major break in a water line);
  • Problem of Casino Still Unsettled [Lake Worth amusement spot];
  • Water Consumption Hits All-Time High, But Pressure Improve [on hotest day of year, 101 degrees];
  • Two Sisters Rescued at Lake Worth;
  • Vandals Rip Off Covering Of Will Rogers Statue Here [covered awaiting unveiling ceremony];
  • Two More 100-Degree Days are Predicted Here;
  • Texas Farms in Best Shape;
  • Last US Marines Leave Peleliu Island [WWII]; Lower Hemline Debate [17″ vs 10″];

Prices & entertainment as recorded in the Telegram …

  • Can of coffee $.43; orange juice 46 oz $.29; sirloin steak $.59lb; cured ham $.39lb; men’s dress shirts $1.98 and boys briefs $.19;
  • window AC unit $375; washing machines $98.95; lawnmower $17.45;
  • Ft Worth School District charges $8 per month tuition for a student from areas around Fort Worth;
  • 17 movie houses were listed in the paper on that day in Fort Worth movies included The Yearling, Easy Come Easy Go, Born to Speed, Dishonored Lady, and The Time of Their Lives;

The most common name of the day according to census data was Linda for girls and James for boys.

Selected photos provided to the Kennedale News over the years …

Old Town Kennedale according to the Star Telegram which was on Broadway. Later it caught fire and was destroyed. Most businesses relocated along the new 287 Highway (Kennedale Parkway/Bus 287).
Kennedale Police Chief Halverson (undated photo Kennedale News)

Additional Resources:

  • Kennedale Historical Society FaceBook – @ https://www.facebook.com/KennedaleHistoricalSociety/
  • City of Kennedale – History of Kennedale @ http://www.cityofkennedale.com/231/History-of-Kennedale

Note: Kennedale News begin publishing in 1965 but a fire destroyed all papers from the 60’s and the 70’s with the exceptions of scraps of articles and photos from that era. North Texas University Library system is compiling searchable online copies of the printed edition of the newspaper from the early 1980’s through the 2000’s that will be made available to the public on completion. Any old copies of the newspaper from the 60’s and 70’s that could be obtained would be appreciated. The original will be returned to owner.

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