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In early years, Native Americans hunted and fished along Village Creek near the present site of Kennedale. The Village Creek tribes and the Republic of Texas signed a treaty in 1843, and settlers began moving into the area. In 1882, John D. Hudson, C.B. Teague, and Oliver S. Kennedy bought land here at the site of a mineral well.
A local post office opened in 1884, and in 1886, the Town of Kennedale was platted and named for Kennedy. To attract a rail line to the community, Kennedy donated land to the railroad, and the Fort Worth & New Orleans Railway Company built a line through Kennedale to Waxahachie.
A central business district developed near the mineral well, with a train depot, hotel, general merchandise store, drug store, bank, post office, lumber company, and blacksmith. Kennedale had a public school by 1890 and formed a school district in 1909. The area surrounding the town consisted largely of farms, and the town maintained a rural character well into the 20th century.
As late as the 1940s, some homes did not have electricity. The first city water lines were installed in 1952, and sewer lines were installed in the early 1960s.
A fire in 1908 destroyed most of the business district, which was never rebuilt. State Highway 34 was built through the town around 1932, and business activity gradually migrated to this roadway, now know as Kennedale Parkway.
In July 1947, with a population of 300, Kennedale voted to incorporate. At that time, the city limits followed the school district boundaries and encompassed 13.5 square miles. By 1950 the population had increased to 500, and the State of Texas approved changing the status of Kennedale from “Town” to “City.”
Another milestone occurred in 1998, when Kennedale adopted a Home Rule charter. In the second half of the 20th century, the city has become more suburban. The city’s population continues to grow, and as of 2013, the population was 7,236.
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As of the census of 2000, there were 5,850 people, 2,141 households, and 1,616 families residing in the city. The population density was 968.5 people per square mile (374.0/km2). There were 2,241 housing units at an average density of 371.0 per square mile (143.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 88.51% White, 3.45% African American, 0.75% Native American, 0.97% Asian, 4.29% from other races, and 2.02% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 9.91% of the population.
There were 2,141 households out of which 40.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.2% were married couples living together, 12.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.5% were non-families. 19.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.71 and the average family size was 3.11.
In the city the population was spread out with 28.6% under the age of 18, 8.7% from 18 to 24, 32.5% from 25 to 44, 21.5% from 45 to 64, and 8.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 96.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $49,091, and the median income for a family was $53,901. Males had a median income of $43,182 versus $25,508 for females. The per capita income for the city was $24,323. About 4.9% of families and 6.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.5% of those under age 18 and 12.4% of those age 65 or over.