Downtown Kemp, Texas
|Incorporated||May 18, 1922|
|• Type||Type A General Law Municipality|
|• Mayor||Laura Hanna Peace|
|• City Secretary||Allene Gilmore|
|• Mayor Pro-Tem||Leotis Buckley|
|• Total||2.20 sq mi (5.69 km2)|
|• Land||2.13 sq mi (5.52 km2)|
|• Water||0.06 sq mi (0.17 km2)|
|Elevation||381 ft (116 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||579.74/sq mi (223.87/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (Central (CST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-5 (CDT)|
|Area code(s)||430, 903|
|GNIS feature ID||1339022|
The community was named for Sara Kemp, mother of Levi Noble, the first postmaster, and was officially established when the post office opened in 1851. The original townsite was located on present-day County Road 4023 2 miles (3 km) south of present-day Texas State Highway 274. It grew slowly during its first thirty years. A Presbyterian congregation was organized in 1854, and the Kemp Academy of Learning began operation in 1867. After the Civil War an increasing number of settlers moved to the community. In 1870 Dr. A. J. Still, hoping to profit from this growth and the possible construction of a railroad through the area, bought land just north of the community (where the current city sits) and, after surveying, dividing the tract into lots, and platting it, persuaded the directors of the Southern Pacific Railroad to lay tracks across his property by offering the company a number of lots. Another early settler, Sam Parmalee, followed suit and offered the rail company right-of-way through his property. The mid-1880s witnessed the completion of the rail line through the community, the construction of a depot there, and the designation of Kemp as a terminus on the line.
The railroad attracted settlers to Kemp. Prospering with the surrounding cattle ranches and cotton farms, the community developed as a trade center for the lower part of the county. By the early twentieth century the population had reached 513, and the Methodist and Baptist congregations had established churches. Kemp also supported a local newspaper, the Kemp News. The paper was owned and edited by Mike S. Boggess. In 1926 the town had a population of 1,200, sixty businesses, and two banks. By 1936, 46 businesses operated in Kemp. The population declined from 1,000 to 816 between the end of World War II and the mid-1960s. Businesses declined from 41 to 33. In 1965 Cedar Creek Reservoir was completed just south of the community. Kemp had a population of 1,184 and 75 businesses in 1990. Much of the land around town was still devoted to cattle production, and many residents commuted to jobs in the Dallas area. In 2000 the population was 1,133.
During the summer of 2011, the city received national attention due to its aging water utility system and complications resulting from the severe Texas drought of 2011.
Kemp is located in southeastern Kaufman County at  U.S. Route 175 runs along the northeast side of the city, leading northwest 11 miles (18 km) to Kaufman, the county seat, and southeast 28 miles (45 km) to Athens.(32.437285, -96.225730).
According to the United States Census Bureau, Kemp has a total area of 2.6 square miles (6.8 km2), of which 2.5 square miles (6.5 km2) are land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km2), or 4.18%, are water. It is at the north end of Cedar Creek Lake.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,133 people, 448 households, and 301 families residing in the city. The population density was 640.5 people per square mile (247.1/km2). There were 497 housing units at an average density of 281.0 per square mile (108.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 89.14% White, 8.65% African American, 0.18% Native American, 1.06% from other races, and 0.97% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.38% of the population.
There were 448 households, out of which 31.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.2% were married couples living together, 14.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.8% were non-families. 30.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 17.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 3.04.
In the city the population was spread out, with 26.5% under the age of 18, 7.8% from 18 to 24, 24.2% from 25 to 44, 21.4% from 45 to 64, and 20.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 80.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.7 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $34,191, and the median income for a family was $42,083. Males had a median income of $32,500 versus $25,417 for females. The per capita income for the town was $16,012. About 10.4% of families and 15.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.1% of those under age 18 and 20.1% of those age 65 or over.
The city of Kemp is a Type A general law municipality with a mayor-council form of government. The mayor is the chief executive officer of the city and oversees the day-to-day operations of the city government. The mayor is elected at-large and serves a two-year term. The city council consists of five members and the mayor. Council members are elected at-large by place, and serve for two-year terms. The mayor is the presiding officer of the city council. One council member is elected annually by the other members to serve as Mayor Pro-Tem in the absence of the mayor.
The city operates a public works department including water and wastewater utilities, and the Kemp Municipal Court. The city employs a city secretary, a small administrative staff, a municipal judge/court clerk, a public works director, a small public works staff, a chief of police, a police sergeant/K9 unit, and several full-time and reserve officers. On May 9, 2012, the city council voted to disband the Kemp Police Department in favor of outsourcing to the Kaufman County Sheriff due to budget constraints. It was subsequently restored. The chief is being sued for civil rights violations. The lawsuit is on hold, while minor criminal charges against the plaintiff remain pending.
The city has chartered the Kemp Housing Authority, which operates two public housing apartment campuses, and is governed by a board of commissioners appointed by the mayor. It employs an executive director, a clerical assistant and a small maintenance staff.
The city has chartered the Kemp Economic Development Corporation, a type 4B EDC. It is funded by a $.005 sales tax for economic development purposes. The Kemp EDC has a board of directors appointed by the Kemp City Council.
The city is served by the Kemp Municipal Development District, which includes the city of Kemp and its extraterritorial jurisdiction. The Kemp MDD was created by election in May 2010 and began operations October 1, 2010. The district levies a $.0025 sales tax for economic and municipal development purposes. The Kemp City Council serves as the Kemp Municipal Development District board of directors.
- "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
- "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
- "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Census Summary File 1 (G001), Kemp city, Texas". American FactFinder. U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved May 1, 2019.
- Staff, By the CNN Wire. "Heat wave: Oklahoma, Texas endure warmest months on record". Retrieved 23 November 2016.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
- Lillich, Cody. "ETX police department disbanded". Retrieved 23 November 2016.
- "Jimmy Council named new Kemp police chief". Retrieved 23 November 2016.
- "McCollom v. City of Kemp et al, No. 3:2014cv01488 - Document 28 (N.D. Tex. 2014)". Retrieved 23 November 2016.
- Robert Richard Butler, History of Kaufman County, Texas (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1940).
- Kaufman County Historical Commission, History of Kaufman County (Dallas: Taylor, 1978).