Kent, D.C. initially began as a neighborhood along what is now Chain Bridge road on its eastern border. Development was slow until the Civil War, at which time settlements began in earnest as escaped or freed slaves built new communities near to the Civil War Defenses of Battery Kemble. Remnants of the initial community include an old schoolhouse and a small cemetery established in 1868.
In the 1930s and 40s, the hilly western section was developed into suburbs using Colonial housing styles. The meandering streets and eclectic layout of buildings reflect the rolling geography of the eastern section. Unlike the western section, the eastern portion remains distinctly rural in feel. Because of this, Kent almost seems to be two distinct neighborhoods.
Located in Northwest Washington, D.C., Kent remains almost entirely residential with its commercial development restricted to MacArthur Boulevard. The Chain Bridge Road/University Terrace Preservation Committee, formed in the late 1990s, has successfully slowed the cutting of old trees and restricts the amount of paving that can be done in the neighborhood. The area retains an atmosphere heavily influenced by its architectural variety and tree canopy, making it a highly desirable neighborhood for Washingtonians.