Happy Birthday, Kettering! Here are 9 things to know about its history

It’s been 63 years since Kettering became a city.

A special census, recorded in 1955, counted 38,118 people in the Village of Kettering. An official proclamation from the Ohio Secretary of State was made June 24, 1955, elevating it to city status.

Here are 9 things to know about Kettering:

1. The first home. A farmer named John Patterson built the area's first log cabin in 1798. By 1841 so many people had settled in the area that Van Buren Township, as the city was originally known, was formed.

2. A new village. More than 100 years later, in 1952, Van Buren Township was incorporated into the Village of Kettering. The following year, the western portion of the community seceded and formed what is now the City of Moraine (which recently had its own birthday).

3. What's in a name? The community was named after Charles F. Kettering, the inventor of the self-starter and founder of the Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company, known as Delco (he changed the planet).

4. Employment draw. The Van Buren Township/Kettering area grew rapidly in the 1940s and 1950s. Industrial and defense-related jobs at factories such as Delco drew residents. Construction of new tract homes flourished.

5. At the shopping forefront. In 1951, the modern style Town & Country Shopping Center opened. In 1956, J.C. Penney left downtown and moved into the new suburban center. Customers were able to shop at night, according to research provided by the Ohio History Connection, because it was among the first shopping centers to have illuminated signs and parking.

6. Student design. The first proposed seal for the City of Kettering bore the motto, "No Place Is Someplace." The seal was designed by Judith Irelan, a Fairmont senior, for a contest held in 1956 sponsored by the city, Southern Hills Lions Club and the Kettering Board of Education.

7. Rapid growth. Kettering was known as the fastest-growing city in Ohio between 1955 and 1965, according to the Ohio History Connection. The population grew from 38,118 in 1955 to 54,462 by 1960. The population peaked in 1970 at 69,599.

8. Friends abroad. Kettering has two sister cities: Steyr, Austria and Kettering, England.

9. By the numbers. There are 250 miles of streets in Kettering, 27,602 housing units and, according to the 2010 United States Census, a population of 56,163.

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