During the July 4, 1968 parade, Sam Kelley (president of the Marion Hills Homeowners’ Association) and three other homeowners’ association presidents discussed the problems their associations faced and the possibility of incorporating as a city. Discussions continued and a referendum on incorporation was held in December 1969. A unique name had to be chosen for the referendum ballot. Kelley who had visited Darien, Connecticut and found it a pleasant place, suggested the proposed city be called “Darien.” Mr. Kelley describes the incorporation efforts in Neighbors of Darien December 2006 Holiday Issue: Darien Celebrates Birthday on December 13.
Sam Kelley served 13 years as a city alderman, and for over 30 years as a board member for the Darien Historical Society. In recognition of his civic contributions, he received the Darien Citizen of the Year Award in 1988.