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The tour winds through the extensively cultivated White River Valley, where in the 1940s great fields of lettuce or celery and smaller acreages in cauliflower, peas, beans, and beets adjoined poultry ranches. The packing season generally started in May with the shipment of rhubarb. Much of the produce was expressed to New York. Today industrial and shipping warehouse development has covered much of the former farm land.

First known as Titusville, then Yesler, honoring Henry L. Yesler of Seattle, the town was platted as Kent by Ezra Meeker on July 3, 1888. The area, like that of the Kentish region in England, was noted for its hop culture. A crop of 859,436 pounds in 1888 spurred the town onward; prior to that time it had been simply a point for scow and boat traffic on the White River.

The fertility of the surrounding black-loam valley lands made Kent an important berry, dairy, and truck-garden center. As shipping point of the valley’s agricultural produce, it had two railroad lines and a busy motor freight terminal with a fleet of 80 trucks. The town became the home of the first Carnation Condensed Milk plant on September 6, 1889. The Carnation Company was soon followed by the Pacific Coast Condensed Milk Company and canneries of Libby, McNeill and Libby, a cheese factory, and large commercial incubating plants.

Although hop culture declined throughout the area, Kent remained noted for the quality and quantity of its crops. The production of lettuce, however, outstripped that of hops. On Kent’s former annual Lettuce Day in early summer, a group of girls in bathing costume, standing in a huge bowl, pitchforks in hand, once prepared a gigantic lettuce salad. The town’s fairest Titian dumps the bucket of mayonnaise over the shredded lettuce.

Points of Interest Points of Interest icon

Langstons Landing

Beginning around 1867 stern wheel river boats unloaded goods along the sandy banks of five landings along the White (now Green) River. John Langston, who opened the first store in King County outside Seattle, operated this, the most notable landing site.

Alvord’s Landing

The farthest up landing on the White (now Green) River was navigable for small mail steamers. Thomas M. and Julia Alvord established the landing in 1860. He was a successful farmer who once owned the largest farm in the valley at 1,100 acres. All the landings ceased operation after the railroads came to the area in 1886-87.

Brannan Cabin Site

Also known as the White River Massacre Site, the cabin was destroyed when a Native American war party moved down the valley on October 28, 1855 killing nine settlers and destroying property. The Brannan Cabin was centrally located to the battle. All of the family members were killed.

Mary Olson Farm

Now part of the White River Valley Museum, this 60-acre farmstead dating from 1897 with its setting, creek, hayfields and orchard remained amazingly intact until purchased by the City of Auburn in the 1980’s. Alford Olson, a Swedish immigrant, bought the farm in 1879, and married Mary Anderson in 1883. The farmhouse was built in 1902. The garage and other outbuildings were built around 1920-22. The Olson’s grew hops and tended to dairy herds. While Alford died young, Mary lived until 1938 when she passed ownership to her children. It stayed in the family nearly 100 years, and represents a rare surviving subsistence farm in a now heavily urbanized area.

Themes You'll Find at this Main Street

Retail Development

Charles E. Guiberson brings one-stop-shopping to downtown Kent, Washington in a modern, two-story brick building just after the turn-of-the-century.


Guiberson Building

In 1906, Charles E. Guiberson, one of Kent’s oldest and most progressive citizens, brought one-stop shopping to downtown Kent, Washington, with a two-story brick building on the corner of First Street (now called First Avenue) and Titus Street, still standing today. At a cost of $12,000, the Guiberson building boasted a beautiful, modern, plate glass store front on the lower floor which housed four stores, three facing First Avenue.

  • A. Baumgard Millinery: Gentlemen’s furnishings, ladies’ hats, and shoes for ladies, gentlemen and children.
  • C. W. Preppernau, Prescription Druggist: prescriptions, chemicals, toiled specialties, patient medicines, Rex stock and poultry remedies, stationery, cigars, candy, books, school supplies and more
  • C. V. Lundquist, Staple and Fancy Groceries

Dr. Bradley and the Hudson-Woods Umbrella factory occupied the upper floor of the building. At one point, Guiberson’s wife, Nell Wood Guiberson, owned Nell’s Tea Room on the upper floor of the building. While Guiberson owned the building, he and H. B. Madison operated their loan, insurance, investment and real estate business down the street at 113 First Street.

Merton and Annie Morrill

One of Kent’s early forefathers, Merton M. Morrill, was a man of many talents. Following successful trips to the Klondike during the Alaska Gold Rush, he returned to Kent, establishing the M. M. Morrill Bank at the corner of First Street (now called First Avenue) and Gowe Street. Built in a Colonial style, the clinker-brick building cost $7,000 and featured large plate glass windows and was known as the M. M. Morrill Bank Building.


With 18 foot ceilings, the bank was located on the main floor in the corner room. In an adjacent room was the Kent Feed Company, a 23-foot store facing First Street (now First Avenue), owned by Edward Peplow. Dr. G. F. Abbott, M.D., an eye specialist, occupied the second floor. Morrill owned the bank and the building until 1912 when it became the First National Bank of Kent.


In 1907, the entrepreneurial Morrill served as an undertaker and funeral director. From 1909 to 1910, he served as Kent’s mayor. He also owned a share in the Kent Land Co., operated a mercantile and a meat market, and shipped livestock from out-of-state. Multi-tasking at the turn of the 20th century!


When Morrill passed away on May 17, 1914, his wife Annie Morrill became president of the bank, which was a rarity for that time period, making Annie a pioneer for her generation. Women were just beginning to enter the white-collar work force as nurses, teachers, sales clerks, office workers and telephone operators, and had only just been granted the right to vote in Washington in 1910. Women weren’t granted the right to vote in the United States, however, until August 18, 1920.


Annie, who married Morrill after her first husband James Merrifield died in the Alaska Gold Rush of 1898, remained bank president until October 1923.  She sold her interests in October 1923, according to the Kent Valley News of May 31, 1924.  She was also a candidate for mayor during her tenure at the bank. When Annie retired, she sold her stock to her son, M. W. Morrill.