Joseph Alexander Kemp
N 33° 54.724 W 098° 30.427
14S E 545564 N 3752514
Quick Description: Texas Historical Marker at the grave of Joseph Alexander Kemp, inside historic Riverside Cemetery in Wichita Falls, noting his work in putting Wichita Falls on the map.
Location: Texas, United States
Date Posted: 1/9/2017 6:55:08 AM
Waymark Code: WMTV7K
Marker Number: 15184
(July 31, 1861 - November 16, 1930)
Joseph Alexander Kemp was a visionary and entrepreneur whose business and civic activities were vital to the development of Wichita Falls. Kemp was born in Clifton (Bosque Co.), where he opened his first store at the age of eighteen. He married Flora Anderson in 1882 and they moved to Wichita Falls in 1883, where he partnered in a general mercantile store, later opening a wholesale grocery. The couple raised five children.
Kemp's business activities were varied. He helped establish several rail lines, including two with his brother-in-law, Frank Kell, with whom he also operated a number of other companies vital for the commercial development of Wichita Falls. He also worked to provide the community with an adequate water supply. Kemp completed Lake Wichita with private funding in 1901, which provided water, irrigation and electricity to the community. He made further contributions to area irrigation with the creation of Lakes Kemp and Diversion, which provided water and flood control to Wichita Falls from across county lines. Other noted activities by Kemp included the platting of the Floral Heights addition, named for his wife; the construction of a number of important area buildings, including City National Bank and Kemp Hotel; and the opening of a library (now the Kemp Center for the Arts). He also worked to diversify the community’s economy in the face of its early 20th century oil boom.
When he died in 1930, Kemp was honored by the city and state as a great pioneer and leader. Today, Joseph A. Kemp is remembered as a man of character who inspired, motivated, and led, playing a monumental role in developing the city of Wichita Falls. (2008)
Marker is Property of the State of Texas
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