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Marvin Kent had started his own railroad company, the Franklin and Warren Railroad, in 1851 after Franklin Mills, already home to several Kent family ventures and properties, was bypassed by the Cleveland and Pittsburgh Railroad that same year.
Kent was also successful in getting the village named as the location of the railroad's maintenance yards and shops in 1864.
It was incorporated as a village in 1867 and became a city after the 1920 Census.
The population was 28,904 in the 2010 Census and was estimated at 30,071 in 2016.
The city is counted as part of the Akron Metropolitan Statistical Area and the larger Cleveland–Akron–Canton Combined Statistical Area.
There were three notable stops in Franklin Mills, one of which still stands as of 2010.
In 1863 the Atlantic and Great Western Railroad was constructed through Franklin Mills, due largely to the efforts of local businessman Marvin Kent, son of Zenas Kent.
As part of the Connecticut Western Reserve, the area was divided into survey townships in 1798 and almost all of what is now Kent was originally part of Town 3 Range 9, which would eventually be known as Franklin Township.