Glendale, California Biographies

Roy L. Kent

        Roy L. Kent, who is one of the most progressive of Glendale’s younger business men, was born at Edinboro, Erie County, Pennsylvania, March 31, 1886, a son of Charles W. and Emma (Metzenbacher) of Kent. He received his early education in the public schools of his home city, which was supplemented by taking a business course at Davis Business College, Erie, Pennsylvania. He was employed in his father’s planing mill before taking the business course, and afterwards became timekeeper in the plant of the American Steel & Wire Company, at Sharon, Pennsylvania, where he remained two years, serving in many branches of the business, and being assistant paymaster at the time he resigned from their employ.  He came to Los Angeles in 1905, and secured a position in the plant department of the Title Guarantee & Trust Company, where he remained for three years, being assistant manager of the department when he left them. During these three years he gave his evenings to the study of architecture, having in mind the desire to become a contractor and builder. He next entered the employ of the Weaver Construction Company, remaining with them for two years, serving in turn in the capacities of architect, estimator and superintendent of construction.

        In 1910, he joined forces with his father, and opening an office in Glendale, they began contracting and building, doing business under the firm name of Chas. W. Kent & Son. They at once became prominent in their line of business in Glendale, and reaching out for business extended their activity to other cities. In Glendale they built the Parker Building, the Glendale Theater, all of the present group of high school buildings, with the exception of the administration building, several grammar schools and many residences. They built the Owensmouth High School and grammar schools in Culver City.

        In 1919, Roy L. Kent purchased his father’s interest in the business, and has since been doing business under the name of the Roy L. Kent Company. The business has expanded in several directions and now consists of general contracting and building, architecture, insurance, and the sub-dividing and improving of real estate. His business approximates a turnover of $500,000.00 yearly, in which employment is given to about one hundred people the year around. R. S. Henry is his outside superintendent, A. L. Baird is in charge of the real estate and insurance department, while the architectural department is under Charles Cressey. The Glendale Plumbing Company, which is owned by the Roy L. Kent Company, is managed by P.J. Sheehy. In 1920, Mr. Kent opened a lumberyard, which he owned and managed until it was sold to the Fox-Woodsum Lumber Company. He built the Huntlet & Evans Building, which is now occupied by the Pendroy Department Store, and the store building at 121 South Brand Boulevard, was built and is owned by Mr. Kent, and on the site of which he secured a ninety-nine year lease, it being the first long-term lease given in Glendale.

        Mr. Kent created the industrial section along San Fernando Road at Colorado Street. One of the first concerns to locate here was the Standard Oil Company, which built a large distribution plant for their products. The International Chemical Company purchased two and one-half acres, erected a two-story factory building, and are manufacturing printer’s ink in large quantities, their product being used by the Los Angeles Times and other large newspapers of Southern California. The Glendale Engineering Company leased two acres in this district and purchased a two-story building 75 by 175 feet, which was erected by the Roy L. Kent Company, and are moving here a machine and manufacturing business from Modesto and one from Oakland. The Roy L. Kent Company secured a ninety-nine year lease in November 1922 for a large additional acreage at this point and will extend Colorado Street through their holdings. Mr. Kent promoted and developed “Glendale Gardens” and is the owner of considerable property on Brand Boulevard, Maryland and Orange Streets.

        His interest in civic, club and church affairs is more than ordinary. He is director of the Glendale Chamber of Commerce, the Citizens Building Company, the Research Hospital, the Golden State Building & Loan Association, the Glendale Engineering Company, the Sespe and Oakmont Country Clubs, the Hazen J. Titus Company of Los Angeles, and in 1922 was made a member of the board of directors of Redlands University. He is a charter member and president of the Rotary Club, and is superintendent of Sunday school in the First Baptist Church. Fraternally, an Elk; and politically, a Republican.

        At Los Angeles, in 1908, Mr. Kent married Elizabeth M. O’Connor of that city. Their three children are James Wesley, John Howard and Ethelwyn. Mrs. Kent is a member of the Tuesday Afternoon Club and Chapter C.J. of the P.E.O. The family home is at 552 North Central Avenue.

From History of Glendale and Vicinity by John Calvin Sherer. The Glendale Publishing Company, c. 1922 F. M. Broadbooks and J. C. Sherer. p. 411-413. A photo of Roy L. Kent appears on page 410.