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Parks, Recreation, and Community Service

Historic Kent Homestead Celebrates Milestone

July 25, 2011 – This year marks the 10th anniversary of a ribbon-cutting ceremony that opened up the Neely-Soames Historic Homestead to the public for the first time.  The King County Master Gardeners, whose members lovingly maintain the heritage gardens and grounds, will help Kent Parks, Recreation & Community Services celebrate with special activities at the annual public open house and tour, Saturday, August 20, from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.
The homestead is located along the Green River Trail at 5311 S. 237th Place, just north of the Russell Road Athletic Complex. David Neely and his family settled in the Kent valley in 1854 and moved their home to its current location in 1885.  Neely’s daughter Ruby was born in the house in 1895, and after she married Harry Soames, the couple lived there until her death in 1986.  The bed she was born in, hand-carved by her father, is on display at the home.

One of the oldest houses in Kent, the Neely-Soames Homestead was listed on the State Register of Historic Homes in 1977. It underwent significant renovations in 1999 and 2000, supported by the Washington State Historical Society, King County and the city of Kent.  Eight Eagle Scout projects added an informational kiosk, a grape arbor with benches, a picket fence, a trellis for hops, picnic tables and historic photographs. 

The home can be rented for meetings and small events.  But the gardens are open to the public year-round, with all flowers and vegetables clearly marked.  Since 2004, employees of Hawkeye Consultants, a Kent-based company, have volunteered to help the Master Gardeners harvest the gardens and do other projects as part of the city’s Adopt-a-Park program.

For more information about the open house or to receive a self-guided walking tour of the gardens, call 253-856-5110.

The City of Kent is the sixth largest city in Washington State with a population over 117,869. As a culturally rich destination, Kent’s dynamic quality of life features captivating neighborhoods, award-winning parks and nationally accredited police and fire departments. In recent years, Kent has experienced impressive economic growth, and is nationally known as a prime location for manufacturing. For more information, visit www.ChooseKent.com.

Victoria L. Andrews, Kent Parks, Recreation & Community Services

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