The Story of Kentville

The Town of Kentville is located on the Cornwallis River about eight miles upstream from its mouth in central Nova Scotia. This historic town was settled by New England Planters in the 1760’s after the expulsion of the Acadians. 

Originally called Horton’s Corner, it was renamed in 1826, in honour of His Royal Highness, the Duke of Kent (Queen Victoria’s father), who had stayed in the village while on a hunting trip to the area in 1794. 

Local Historian, Louis Comeau, in his book “Historic Kentville, writes that:

“by 1838, the village had three hotels, half a dozen stores and possibly a couple dozen houses. There was a Stagecoach Inn close to Mill Brook, near the town’s boundary, to accommodate passengers travelling from Halifax to Annapolis. It remained a village until 1869, at which time the railway became a reality, and the population rose from 664 to 1,779. When the Windsor and Annapolis Railway acquired the Yarmouth and Annapolis Railway in 1894, becoming the Dominion Atlantic Railway (D.A.R.), it brought much prosperity to the area.”

Comeau, Louis. Historic Kentville. 2003
An early drawing of Kentville by William Henry Bartlett, c. 1838

On December 7, 1886, Kentville was incorporated as a town, and John Warren King was elected as the first Mayor of Kentville. He would remain in this office until 1888. During his time as Mayor, the town was successfully launched and moved forward with many advancements and prosperity. Streets were formed, waterworks completed, lamps were procured for street lighting, and the Kentville Academy was established. The foundation of the town, once known as “Kentville, the Shire Town” had been laid. Trade flourished and it moved on to become the largest town in the Valley, and now serves as the professional centre for legal, financial, and medical services.