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Kent is located in west-central Portage County in Northeast Ohio approximately 10 miles (20 km) northeast of Akron and 30 miles (50 km) southeast of Cleveland. It is bordered by Franklin Township on the north and east, Brimfield Township on the south, and Stow on the west. Other nearby communities include Brady Lake and Ravenna to the east and Sugar Bush Knolls and Streetsboro to the north. It is included in the Akron Metropolitan Statistical Area and the larger Cleveland–Akron–Canton Combined Statistical Area.
Part of the Connecticut Western Reserve, Kent was settled in 1805 and was known for many years as Franklin Mills. Settlers were attracted to the area due to its location along the Cuyahoga River as a place for water-powered mills. Later development came in the 1830s and 1840s as a result of the settlement's position along the route of the Pennsylvania and Ohio Canal. Leading up to the American Civil War, Franklin Mills was noted for its activity in the Underground Railroad. With the decline of the canal and the emergence of the railroad, the town became the home of the Atlantic and Great Western Railroad maintenance shops through the influence of Marvin Kent. In 1864 the town was renamed Kent in honor of and in gratitude for Marvin Kent's efforts. It was incorporated as a village in 1867 and became a city after the 1920 Census. Today Kent is a college town best known as the home of the main campus of Kent State University, founded in 1910.
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