Dallas - The Early Days
In 1850, Dallas still had only 430 residents and was not incorporated as a town until 1856. Gradually, its size grew and its shape changed, not unlike Texas (at right is Stephen F. Austin's early map of Texas--the 'panhandle' is handleless!).
Dallas - The beginning
In the beginning, this growth was fueled by the discovery of oil--In the first two months of 1931, twenty-eight businesses either formed or moved to Dallas for the oil. Banks made loans to develop the oil fields, and Dallas became the financial center for oil fields in East Texas, the Permian Basin, the Panhandle, the Gulf Coast, and Oklahoma.
The Silicon Prairie
It has changed since into a giant metropolis, hailed by one overenthusiastic marketer as the 'Silicon Prairie'. In 1948, Chance Vought, now LTV, moved its headquarters to Dallas. Other corporations followed suit, and hometown corporations were also making an impact. By 1974, more than 626 companies, including Texas Instruments, EDS, and Mary Kay Cosmetics Inc., had their headquarters in Dallas.
The Texas State Fair
This growth of wealth and job opportunity, fostured more opportunity: after a lengthy campaign, the state of Texas chose Dallas as the site of the Texas Centennial Exposition. Dallas had a long history of hosting the State Fair of Texas. More than fifty buildings were built in Fair Park, and 10 million visitors came to see the $25 million spectacle (see 'Big Tex' to the right).
Football comes to Dallas
Dallas continued to gain national attention. In 1960, Dallas was home to two professional football teams: the Dallas Cowboys and the Dallas Texans. By the 1970s, the Cowboys' success and popularity earned them the nickname "America's Team." In 1972, baseball came to Dallas with the Texas Rangers. The Mavericks brought basketball in 1980. Soccer came in 1984 with the Sidekicks. In 1993, professional hockey came with the Dallas Stars.
November 22, 1963, brought a defining moment for Dallas and the nation. Near the spot where John Neely Bryan had first settled, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested for the murder. Two days later, he was killed by Jack Ruby, a Dallas nightclub owner. Dallas, and the nation, grieved, and then moved on. But Dallas never forgot. In 1970, the Kennedy Memorial was erected, and in 1989, the Sixth Floor Museum opened.
Dallas soon began to look more toward its cultural heritage. In 1966, the Dallas County Heritage Society formed to save Millermore, the last antebellum mansion. Their efforts resulted in the creation of Old City Park. In 1973, Swiss Avenue was designated as Dallas's first historic district. The West End, an old warehouse district, opened in the '80s as a restaurant and entertainment area. Voters approved an arts district in 1979. The Dallas Museum of Art moved there from Fair Park in 1984, and the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center opened in 1989. Dallas has come a long way in the last 150 years. From a town of two cabins to a city of more than a million people, Dallas's focus has always been growth and progress.