Restored Historical Kent Home Along Green River Trail
This home will be part of Experience Historical Kent in August. The home will host an open house on Sat., Aug. 20 from 10 AM to 2 PM.
Believed to be the oldest home in Kent, the Neely-Soames home was built on 320 acres of land claimed by the David A. Neely family on what is now the Green River Valley. The Neelys originally lived in a riverside cabin which contained a general store and the first post office where Neely served as Kent’s first postmaster.
His fifth child, David F. Neely, built the much larger home in 1885. Representative of a typical Kent farmstead of that period, the original home was a modest, two-story rectangular-shaped home with a wooden veranda. Additions in 1900 and 1954 expanded the home to approximately 2,000 square feet.
On the State Historic Register since 1977, the home was last owned by David F. Neely’s daughter Ruby Neely Soames, who donated the home to the City of Kent upon her death in 1986. The city has renovated much of the home, keeping as much of the original architecture intact as possible. The home now serves as a meeting place, exhibit space, and trail head and parking for the Green River Trail.
In addition, several garden clubs and Boy Scout troops have adopted the home to preserve and maintain the property. The Des Moines Garden Club and the South King County Master Gardeners, for example, have grown heritage gardens to show what herbs and other plants were grown on the site in the 1800s. The produce from the gardens is donated to local food banks each season.
In a city report on the project, it says, “The fertile Kent valley brought life, hope and sustenance to original settlers, beckoning people of diverse heritage. The Neely-Soames Project attempts to preserve our agricultural heritage and celebrates the beginning in Kent.”
I originally wrote this article in 2009 for Kent Magazine which is no longer published.
Text and Photos Copyright (c) Dana E. Neuts