TOWN OF KENSINGTON, est. 1894
KENSINGTON SHOPPING CENTER, est. 1959
Fascinated by a recent trip to London,
Warner named his subdivision Kensington Park.
The area around the Rock Creek basin where Kensington is located was primarily agricultural until 1873, when the B&O Railroad completed the Metropolitan Branch which traversed Montgomery County. A community arose where the new railroadline intersected the old Rockville-to-Bladensburg road. This early settlement was first known as Knowles Station. In the early 1890s, Washington, D.C. developer Brainard Warner began purchasing land parcels to build a planned Victorian community, complete with church, library and a local newspaper. Fascinated by a recent trip to London,Warner named his subdivision Kensington Park, the 10th and largest subdivision in the area which became the Town of Kensington. Upon incorporation in 1894, Warner convinced the Mayor and Council to name the town Kensington. The historic core of Kensington was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as the Kensington Historic District in 1980.
Originally a farming community at Knowles Station, Kensington developed into a summer refuge for Washington, D.C., residents wishing to escape the capital's humid summers. As years passed and its residents increasingly remained year round, Kensington evolved into a commuter suburb. The large southernmost section originally mapped out by Warner remains largely unchanged since inception, and is a historically preserved zone. Indeed, the only major changes in the town's basic layout have been the bridging over of the original railroad crossing in 1937,and the extension and widening of Connecticut Avenue, the town's main thoroughfare, in 1957.