Borough of Kenhorst
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Kenhorst History
Berks County > Municipalities > Borough of Kenhorst

 

A Brief History of the Borough of Kenhorst

Berks County might still have only 29 boroughs if the residents of Cumru Township had not become perturbed over what they described as an exorbitant streetlight tax, lack of fire protection and street improvements.

Those complaints led to the birth of Berks County’s newest Borough—Kenhorst—nearly 76 years ago. This new Borough was made up of developments known as Farview, South Farview, Farview Hills, Ridge Park, Ridge Park Addition and Rothfields and became incorporated on August 25, 1931.

The residents of those six developments, history relates, complained about inadequate streetlights.

The Supervisors of Cumru Township had better streetlights installed and imposed a special tax for the power and maintenance. The residents considered the tax exorbitant and refused to pay it. Since no money was forthcoming, the electric company turned off the lights. This sent the East Cumru Civic League, headed by Claude E. Derr, into action to form a Borough.

The first petition to the Berks County Court in 1930 was opposed by the Township Supervisors and the Board of Directors of the Poor House. The opposition developed from the directors of the Poor House because the original tract for the Borough was to include park of the County Home Farm.

The original petition was withdrawn and an amendment one was taken into Court in 1931. The County Home tract was eliminated and Jude Forrest R. Shanaman granted the incorporation.

Selection of a name for the new community was not difficult. Along New Holland Road to the South of the Borough was a large estate owned by the Horst Family. Along Lancaster Avenue, in the 18th Ward section of the City of Reading, had been a large farm operated by the Kendall Family, and was known as Kendall Park. So the two names were combined and with a contraction of Kendall came up with the title Kenhorst and was incorporated on August 25, 1931.

The first Burgess for the new Borough was Claude E. Derr, who was the head of the East Cumru Civic League. The first secretary was Harold A. Shirey and the first President of Council was Ralph J. Miller.

Meetings of the Borough Council were held in the Kenhorst Fire Hall until the erection of the Kenhorst Community Center in 1952 by dedicated citizens of the Borough. On July 9, 1960, the present Kenhorst Borough Hall was dedicated. This building was constructed next to the Borough Garage. It includes offices for the Borough Secretary/Treasurer, Borough Manager, Codes Officer and a Council Chamber for Council Meetings.

The Borough is primarily a residential community with some commercial and retail businesses located along Lancaster Avenue and New Holland Road.  In addition, the Kenhorst Shopping Plaza is located at the intersection of New Holland Road (Route 625) and Route 724.  The Plaza hosts a supermarket, post office, bank branch and well as over a dozen other retail businesses and eateries. 

According to the 2010 census there are 2,877 residents in the Borough.  This represents a 7.4% increase over the 2000 census information. 

The City of Reading supplies water and fire hydrants for fire protection. The Borough has a sanitary sewer collection system and a storm sewer system.

At the intersection of New Holland Road and South Kenhorst Boulevard, there was an elementary school known as the Farview School and was part of the Governor Mifflin joint school system. The school was closed in 1981 and the building was sold in July 1987.  Various commercial tenants occupied the former school building from 1987 through 2010.  In 2010, it was purchased by Salisbury Holdings LLC who renovated the building and presently operates a private school there under the name of New Story.