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Part of the Connecticut Western Reserve, Kent was settled in 1805 and was known for many years as Franklin Mills.Settlers were attracted to the area due to its location along the Cuyahoga River as a place for water-powered mills.A lock and attached arch dam, however, was completed in 1836.In the era leading up to the American Civil War, Franklin Mills was an active stop on the Underground Railroad, giving fugitive slaves shelter on their escape to Canada.Kent has nearly 20 parks and preserves and hosts a number of annual festivals including ones related to Earth Day, folk music, and the U. Kent is part of the Cleveland-Akron media market and is the city of license for three local radio stations and three television stations and includes the regional affiliates for National Public Radio (NPR) and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).

In 1818, Joshua Woodard arrived in the area and began constructing buildings just north of the village forming the "Upper Village" that would come to be known briefly as Carthage.

As the home of the Davey Tree Expert Company, Kent is known as "The Tree City" while residents are referred to as "Kentites".

The city has produced a number of notable individuals, particularly in politics, athletics, and the entertainment industry.

It was incorporated as a village in 1867 and became a city after the 1920 Census.

Today Kent is a college town best known as the home of the main campus of Kent State University, founded in 1910, and as the site of the 1970 Kent State shootings.

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