(Photograph of the dinner at the Coliseum to celebrate the town’s new charter and to witness the swearing in of their mayor and city council on June 12, 1957.)
Kenneth City began as 340 acres of pasture land, 58th St was a foot path to 38th Ave that residents persistently drove their cars across until a road was finally put in.
Kenneth City was incorporated April 30, 1957 as a tax-free community of single family homes.
Developer Sidney Colen took the entire population (more than 450 residents and guests) to dinner at the Coliseum to celebrate the town’s new charter and to witness the swearing in of their mayor and city council on June 12, 1957. Circuit Court Judge John U. Bird swore in Mayor Harold A. Mellinger and council members J. D. Bellows Howard Roydhouse, Ellmer Vierling and Miss Ruth Kahn. Members of council were appointed. Sidney Colen turned over to Mayor Mellinger a deed for the property upon which the city hall and recreation center would be constructed for the sum of $1.00.
Kenneth City was named after Colen’s son Kenneth. Several of Colen’s other projects have carried the names of his children. He named these developments after his offspring not to immortalize his children, but to strengthen his commitment to do the best job he could “because I would never do anything to disgrace their names.”
Colen said Kenneth City was “born as a protest of overbearing regulations and taxes.” He intended the town to be a model community.
First council meeting was July 10, 1957 in the Friendship Room of the First Federal Savings and Loan Association, at 49th St & 9 Ave. Prior to this the council met in member homes.
The new government depended upon volunteer residents and employed only a town clerk at $1 an hour, four hours a day until 1963. A $1 a day police officer was also employed.
Kenneth City's first election was held on March 11, 1958. 84% of the registered voters cast ballots. 252 votes of the 300 registered voters. David A. Sealey (unopposed) was elected Mayor. First Council Members to be elected were, Robert Turk, Martin L. Richardson, Oscar J. Buss and J. D. Bellows.
August 1, 1958 a new Fire Engine arrived, a 500 gallon pumper, fully equipped and listed nationally as Grade A apparatus. The fire station was mounted with an automatic 5 horse-power siren, ready to house the engine and a volunteer group, now numbering 22 including a Fire Chief. They all were trained.
Sept 8, 1959 Dixie Hollins opened its doors for the school year.
Kenneth City Plaza was formed and on Dec 9, 1959 the Winn Dixie store became a reality.
February 1, 1960 a Police Department was established, consisting of a paid Police chief and Patrolman. The patrolman was on call at home.
Sidney Colen built Clearview Oaks - the nation’s first condominium. It was conceived in 1959 before anybody ever heard of condominium.