The Kenlis area was first settled in 1882. A post office was established by Mr. Ferguson around 1885. There are two stories how Kenlis received its name. The first suggests that the postmaster choose the name “Kenlis”. The other states there was a civil servant in the area whose last name was Kenlis.
On January 8th, 1885 a rural school district was organized and the first school opened that fall. In 1902 a new brick school was built by G.K Grass for $1415 and the old school building was sold to Peter Dayman. By the 1930s there was need for a high school. It opened in the basement of the United Church on September 9th, 1935 with 22 students. The school only operated for two years. In 1946 the school was replaced by a newer structure. In the 1960s the Kenlis school amalgamated with the Balcarres school division. The school was sold and moved to a farm in 1978.
The Kenlis Church was built by A.M Fraser and Company for $2021 in 1896. Local Methodist volunteers assisted in collecting field stone for the project. The first service was December 4th, 1896 with Reverend M.M. Bennett. The parsonage was erected in 1900. The last service for the church was August 20th, 1972. It is still used occasionally today. The cemetery is located two miles north of the town site; which I did not visit on this trip.
The deed to the church property shows a parcel of land reserved for the railroad. However, in 1905 the CPR laid its track north of the village of Kenlis through Abernethy. This was a blow to the residents, as many people moved north. The post office closed in 1925.