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EncyclopediaDallas > Fort-Worth-Metroplex

Dallas redirects here. For other uses see Dallas (disambiguation)

Dallas skyline as seen from Reunion Tower
Dallas skyline as seen from north of Woodall Rodgers Freeway
The Dallas, Texas flag

Dallas is one of the ten largest cities in the United States and the heart of the 2nd largest metropolitan area in Texas. It is the county seat of Dallas County and small portions of the city also extend into the neighboring counties of Collin County, Denton County, Rockwall County, and Kaufman County.

Dallas is the largest city of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, a large metropolitan area in North Texas. As of the 2000 census, Dallas had a total population of 1,188,580 and the Metroplex had a population of 5,222,000, making it the largest metropolitan area in Texas, the ninth largest metropolitan area in the United States, and one of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the world.

Dallas was first settled in 1841. While Dallas County was established five years later in 1846 and was named after George Mifflin Dallas, who was the eleventh United States Vice President at the time, the origin of the city's name is debatable. Dallas was so called by its residents at least as early as 1843. There are four theories as to the origin of the city's name; it was named:

Dallas was incorporated as a town in 1856, and in 1871 became a city. In 1855, a group of European artists and musicians set up a utopian community west of Dallas called La Reunion. When that venture collapsed in 1857, many of the artists moved to Dallas where they established the base of the artist culture that exists today in the Deep Ellum neighborhood near downtown. In the 1970s, Reunion Arena and Reunion Tower (a trademark of the skyline) were named in honor of the La Reunion colony. Today, Dallas is home to a healthy theater community, with room for both traditional and experimentatal works. Dallas is also boasts an active music scene, with numerous venues in the Deep Ellum and lower Greenville Avenue areas.

In 1871, railroads were beginning to approach the area; Dallas city leaders did not intend to be left out. They paid the Houston and Central Texas railroad line $5000 to build its North-South tracks through Dallas, rather than through Corsicana, 20 miles (32 Km) to the east. In 1873 Dallas leaders tricked the Texas & Pacific Railroad into running its East-West line though Dallas, by having a rider attached to a state law, requiring the Texas & Pacific Railroad to build their tracks through Browder Springs—just south of Main Street. The North-South and East-West routes intersected in Dallas in 1873, thus ensuring its future as a commercial center.

Dallas quickly became the center of trade in cotton, grain, and even buffalo. As it entered the 20th century, Dallas transformed from an agricultural center to a center of banking, insurance, and other businesses. In 1930, oil was discovered 100 miles (160 km) east of Dallas and the city quickly became the financial center for the oil industry in Texas and Oklahoma. Then in 1958 the integrated-circuit computer chip was invented in Dallas by Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments. By the 1980s when the oil industry mostly relocated to Houston, Dallas was beginning to benefit from a burgeoning technology boom (driven by the growing computer and telecom industries), while continuing to be a center of banking and business. In the 1990s, Dallas became known as Texas' Silicon Valley, or the "Silicon Prairie."


Geography and Climate

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 997.1 km˛ (385.0 mi˛). 887.2 km˛ (342.5 mi˛) of it is land and 110.0 km˛ (42.5 mi˛) of it is water. The total area is 11.03% water.

Dallas, as is the surrounding area, is mostly flat and lies at an elevation ranging from 450 to 550 feet (140 to 170 m). An escarpment rises another 200 feet (60 m) in southern Dallas in the neighborhoods of Oak Cliff and Cockrell Hill, Texas and continues through the city of Cedar Hill.

A simulated-color satellite image of Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, taken by NASA's Landsat 7 satellite. Dallas makes up the right half of the urbanized area.

The Trinity River is a major Texas river that passes from the northwest right by the southern portion of downtown Dallas as it heads southeast to Houston. The river is flanked on both sides with a 50 foot (15 m) earthen levee to keep that part of the city from flooding. Several bridges traverse the river connecting southern Dallas to downtown Dallas. Businesses and businessmen, like Belo and Ross Perot, Jr., have pushed in recent years to build a multi-million-dollar, landmark bridge over the river and convert that section of the river into a park area with nearby commercial and retail services somewhat similar to the River Walk in San Antonio or Townlake in Austin. Some proponents claim this development would bring more life, commerce, revenue and lower crime to downtown Dallas and poorer, southern Dallas. Some critics charge the project is a facade to serve special, financial interests of businessmen. Residents barely approved a bond proposal in 1998 to fund the Trinity River Project and work has progressed slowly towards implementing it. Ron Kirk, Dallas' first African American mayor, championed the project during his term as mayor as he did the new American Airlines Center in downtown. His successor, mayor Laura Miller—sometimes referred to as Dallas' first reform mayor—won the vacancy left by Kirk when he ran unsucessfully for the U.S. Senate. Miller won in part based on her platform she would focus on the city's basic needs like roads and other infrastructure and city employees' pay; services some claimed were neglected at the cost of special projects like the American Airlines Center.

White Rock Lake is Dallas' other significant water feature. The lake and surrounding park is a popular destination in the Lake Highlands/Casa Linda neighborhoods for boaters, joggers, bikers, skaters and for related activities. The lake also boasts the 66 acre (270,000 m˛) Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden on its shore.

Dallas lies near the bottom of a tornado region that runs through the prairie lands of the midwest. In the spring, cool fronts moving from Canada collide with warm, humid air streaming in from the Gulf Coast. When these fronts meet over Dallas, severe storms are generated with spectacular lightning shows, torrents of rain, large hail and, at times, tornados.

Dallas gets about 30 inches (760 mm) of rain per year, much of which is delivered in the spring time. The climate of Dallas is classified a humid subtropical climate, yet this part of Texas also tends to get hot, dry winds from the north and west in the summer. In the winter, the winds are cool, which can cause the region to fall below freezing occasionally. An inch (25 mm) of snow for a day or two falls about once each winter, and about every other winter the cool air from the north and the humid air from the south lead to freezing rain, which usually causes the city to come to a screeching halt for a day or two if the roads and highways become dangerously slick. Regardless, winters are relatively mild compared to the Texas Panhandle and other states to the north. Dallas winters are occasionally interspersed with Indian summers.

Location of Dallas, Texas

Spring and fall and the pleasant, moderate temperatures accompanying those seasons are somewhat short-lived in Dallas. However short the season is, residents and visitors appreciate the beauty of the vibrant wildflowers (such as the bluebonnet, Indian paintbrush and other flora) which bloom in spring and are planted around the highways throughout Texas. In the spring the weather can also be quite volatile and change quickly in a matter of minutes. The cliche about volatile climates popular in various parts of the US—"if you don't like the weather, wait a little while and it'll change"—applies well to Dallas' spring weather. Many consider autumn, around late September and October, to be the best time to visit the Metroplex. Yet many events are also scheduled for more volatile season in spring.

Ongoing comparisons are made between Dallas' summer weather and Houston's. Texans generally agree Houston is significantly more humid and Dallas is slightly hotter, although given Houston's humidity it may have a higher heat index than Dallas.


The Mustangs at Las Colinas, located in the suburb of Irving

As of the census2 of 2000, there are 1,188,580 people, 451,833 households, and 266,581 families residing in the city. The population density is 1,339.7/km˛ (3,469.9/mi˛). There are 484,117 housing units at an average density of 545.7/km˛ (1,413.3/mi˛). The racial makeup of the city is 50.83% White, 25.91% Black or African American, 0.54% Native American, 2.70% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 17.24% from other races, and 2.72% from two or more races. 35.55% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race. As Mexicans flood into southern Dallas along the I-35 corridor through Laredo, Texas and San Antonio, Hispanics outnumbered African-Americans for the first time in the 2000 census as the largest minority group in Dallas.

There are 451,833 households out of which 30.3% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.8% are married couples living together, 14.9% have a female householder with no husband present, and 41.0% are non-families. 32.9% of all households are made up of individuals and 6.5% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.58 and the average family size is 3.37.

In the city the population is spread out with 26.6% under the age of 18, 11.8% from 18 to 24, 35.3% from 25 to 44, 17.7% from 45 to 64, and 8.6% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 30 years. For every 100 females there are 101.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 100.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $37,628, and the median income for a family is $40,921. Males have a median income of $31,149 versus $28,235 for females. The per capita income for the city is $22,183. 17.8% of the population and 14.9% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 25.1% of those under the age of 18 and 13.1% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

The crime rate in Dallas has been ranked first in the country's largest cities from 1998 to 2003. While most areas are peaceful, certain neighborhoods are avoided after dusk; these are downtown, near large tourist attractions, as well as sections of south Oak Cliff near the Dallas Zoo, and neighborhoods around Fair Park and south Dallas.

For a list of surrounding cities and towns, see:


The Dallas/Fort Worth area is sometimes called "Texas' Silicon Valley". Also, there are more than 40,000 telecommunication employees in the "Telecom Corridor" housing such companies as Southwestern Bell, AT&T, Alcatel, Ericsson, Fujitsu, MCI, Nortel Networks, Rockwell, and Sprint. Central Dallas is supported by more than 100 miles (160 km) of fiber optic cable. According to the Dallas Women's Covenant, there are more than 81,000 women-owned firms in metropolitan Dallas.

Although the Telecom industry was hit hard in the latest recession, most businesses in Dallas performed better on average than other regional economies.

Major companies based in and around Dallas

Companies based in the Dallas city limits:

AMR Corporation (parent company of American Airlines), Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, Radio Shack, and Pier 1 Imports are based in Fort Worth. id Software is based in Mesquite. ExxonMobil, Michael's Stores, and Zale Corporation are headquartered in Irving. Electronic Data Systems, Frito Lay, Dr Pepper and JCPenney are headquartered in Plano. FUNimation is headquartered in North Richland Hills. Educational Products, Inc. is headquartered in Carrollton. Sabre Holdings, the owner of Sabre Systems, is headquartered in Southlake.

Halliburton Energy Services was once based in Dallas, but moved to Houston in 2003.



Dallas is served by two commercial airports: Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (known as DFW International) and Dallas Love Field. In addition, Dallas Executive Airport (formerly Redbird Airport), is a general aviation airport located within the city limits, and Addison Airport is another general aviation airport located just outside the city limits in the suburb of Addison. Two more general aviation airports are located in the outer suburb of McKinney, and on the west side of the Metroplex, two general aviation airports are located in Fort Worth.

DFW International Airport is located in the suburbs north of and equidistant to downtown Fort Worth and downtown Dallas. In terms of size, DFW is the largest airport in the state, the second largest in the United States, and third largest in the world. In terms of traffic, DFW is the busiest in the state, fourth busiest in the United States, and sixth busiest in the world. DFW is also home base to American Airlines, the world's largest airline.

Love Field is located within the city limits of Dallas, 6 miles (10 km) northwest of downtown, and is headquarters to Southwest Airlines. Under the Federal "Wright Amendment" and "Shelby Amendment" laws, no large jet air service is allowed from Dallas Love Field to any point beyond Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas, Mississippi, and Alabama. As such, Southwest and Continental Express are the only major airlines flying out of that airport. Ongoing efforts to relax or abandon these restrictions have not succeeded so far. (See Love Field Airport for a history of the Wright Amendment.)

Trains and Buses

Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) is the Dallas area public transportation company, providing buses, rail, and HOV lanes. DART began operating the first light rail system in Texas (and the Southwest United States) in 1996 and continues to expand its coverage. Currently, two light rail lines are in service. The red line goes through Oak Cliff, Downtown, Uptown, North Dallas, Richardson, and Plano. The blue line goes through South Dallas, Downtown, Uptown, North Dallas, and Garland. The red and blue lines are conjoined in between 8th & Corinth Station (In Oak Cliff) and Mockingbird Station (in North Dallas.) The two lines service Cityplace Station, the only subway station in the Southwest United States. The system remained the only light rail system in Texas until Houston opened its light rail system in 2004. Fort Worth's smaller public transit system connects with Dallas' via a commuter rail line (The TRE) connecting downtown Dallas (Union Station) with downtown Fort Worth (Intermodal Transit Center) and several points in between. The system of light rail transit, especially through downtown, has skyrocketed land values and has sparked a residential living boom in Downtown. Although the system is increasingly popular, most people in the Metroplex still choose to drive their vehicles rather than take public transportation. As of early 2005, DART is currently planning and constructing the purple and orange lines that will connect DFW Airport, Love Field Airport, Irving, Carrollton, Farmers Branch, and southeast Dallas to the blue and red lines.

Freeways and Tollways

See List of Dallas freeways for detailed information on each freeway, such as official name, route, and termination points.

  • Texas 114 (state highways are known as SH 114, etc.)
  • Texas 121
  • Texas 161
  • Texas 183
  • Texas 190 (the free frontage roads of the President George Bush Turnpike)
  • Texas 360
  • Texas Loop 12
  • Texas Spur 97 (toll)
  • Texas Spur 280
  • Texas Spur 366 (Woodall Rodgers Freeway)
  • Texas Spur 408
  • Texas Spur 482
  • Dallas North Tollway (toll)
  • President George Bush Turnpike (toll) (its frontage roads are signed as Texas 190)

Neighborhoods of Dallas

  • Deep Ellum
  • Downtown
  • Greenville
  • Fairpark
  • North Dallas
  • Oakcliff
    • Cadillac Heights
  • Oaklawn
  • Park Cities - Highland Park, Texas and University Park, Texas (governed independently of Dallas)
  • Oaklawn
  • Turtle Creek

People of Dallas

Dallasites are said to consider themselves more sophisticated than those in other parts of Texas, especially Fort Worth. Because of the economic prowess of the region, many who live there had come from other U.S. states or countries worldwide. Dallasites eat out about four times every week, which is the third highest rate in the country. Dallas has two times the number of restaurants per person than New York City. Dallasites are very fond of their local teams especially "America's Team," the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys are well loved by the locals, even after many lackluster or losing seasons, and even if another local team is a leader in its sport. Sports calendars and other memorabilia are very common, and on Sundays people tend to watch sports games on television.

One drawback is that the city of Dallas has the highest crime rate among cities of 1,000,000 people or more (as of 2005, only nine cities in the United States do. Detroit, Michigan has a higher crime rate, but it, after losing population, dropped out of the 1,000,000+ ranking and Dallas was pushed to the top.) Police Chief Terrell Bolton was fired by then—city manager Ted Benavides, and was replaced by David Kunkle, who was tasked with helping the city lose this designation.

Because Dallas and Houston are the two major economic centers of Texas, they enjoy a friendly rivalry. Selected characteristics of them are often compared. One major comparison is the populations of the two cities. Even though on a world-scale, they are about equal, Houston tends to boast because of a higher municipal population (the city encompasses most of its metropolitan area), and Dallas tends to boast because of a much higher metropolitan population (the city of Dallas is bounded by suburbs, so much of the new growth occurs outside of Dallas proper.) Even the adult industry is compared—Houston has the lead (that is, in adult entertainment), but both have a strong show of billboards and venues.

Famous People raised in Dallas

Greg ostertag

Dallas skyline at night
Dallas skyline as seen from Reunion Tower at night


The city of Dallas is also home to several institutions of higher learning, including:


Dallas is located in the "Bible Belt", and there is a large Protestant influence on the community. Baptist churches dot the landscape, fish emblems are seen on car trunks, and many local Christian radio stations and television stations are on the airwaves. As with large cities, the city has Catholics, Jews, Muslims, and other groups inside the city.

Media and Journalism

List of Radio & Television Stations

List of Newspapers

  • Auto Revista
  • Daily Commercial Record
  • Dallas Business Journal
  • Dallas Morning News, The
    • Quick produced by The Dallas Morning News
  • Dallas Observer
  • Dallas Times
  • Dallas Voice
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Heritage Online
  • Texas Catholic
  • WeTellAll.com

Also, the Fort Worth-Star Telegram is based in Fort Worth, Texas, and the Northside People and Park Cities People are based in other Dallas surburbs.


See: List of Dallas Mayors


The American Airlines Center

Dallas is home to:

all three of which play at the American Airlines Center, and

who play in the Cotton Bowl but will be moving to Frisco in 2005.

who play in Reunion Arena, and

See also: U.S. cities with teams from four major sports.

Historical Events

  • 1841 - Dallas is founded.
  • 1873 - Two railroads intersect in Dallas, assuring its economic future.
  • 1903 - Dallas annexes town of Oak Cliff on the south side of the Trinity River, expanding its size by a third.
  • October 19, 1917 - Love Field is created.
  • 1922 - The Magnolia Building opens. Its trademark neon Pegasus that would be erected in 1934 would come to be one of the city's most recognizable landmarks and representative of the city itself.
  • 1927 - Love Field is opened for civilian use.
  • 1927 - The world's first convenience store is opened in Dallas by the Southland Ice Company, which will eventually become 7-Eleven.
  • 1930 - C.M. Joiner strikes oil 100 miles (160 km) northeast of Dallas. Dallas became a center of commerce for the Texas oil trade.
  • 1930 - Bonnie and Clyde meet in the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas and begin their crime spree across Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana.
  • 1934 - The criminal duo Bonnie and Clyde are buried in Dallas after being killed by police in Louisiana.
  • 1958 - While working for Texas Instruments, Jack Kilby created the world's first integrated circuit at a Dallas laboratory in September, sparking an electronics revolution that changed the world and created a global market now worth more than $1 trillion a year.
  • November 22, 1963 - President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in a motorcade traveling west on Elm Street in Dealey Plaza. This event is memorialized by the nearby Kennedy Memorial and by the Sixth Floor Museum in the former school book depository at the corner of Elm and Houston.
  • 1974 - Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport opens.
  • 1976 - Thanks-Giving Square is completed in downtown Dallas.
  • 1978 - Dallas the TV series debuts with a CBS mini-series filmed entirely in Dallas. The internationally popular show runs for 13 years.
  • 1979 - US Congress passes the Wright Amendment, restricting passenger air service out of Love Field Airport.
  • 1981 - USS Dallas, a nuclear submarine named after the city, is commissioned.
  • 1996 - Dallas Area Rapid Transit begins operating the first light rail system in Texas (and the Southwest).
  • 1997 - Congress passes the Shelby Amendment, which eases some of the Wright Amendment restrictions on Love Field Airport.
  • 2000 - Dallas Area Rapid Transit opens the first subway station in Texas (and the Southwest).

Other Facts about Dallas

  • Dallas maintains and operates 41 community and neighborhood recreation centers, 232 playgrounds, 173 basketball courts, 112 volleyball courts, 126 play slabs, 258 neighborhood tennis courts, 258 picnic areas, 69 miles (110 km) of hiking and biking trails, six 18-hole golf courses, two driving ranges, a 100 acre (0.4 km˛) zoo, 260 acres (1 km˛) at Fair Park and 477 athletic fields.
  • The Kalita Humphreys Theater, designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, is the main home of Dallas Theater Center, the nation's oldest regional theater company.
  • Dallas holds the highest municipal bond rating among large cities in the United States.
  • KERA Channel 13 is the most watched PBS station in the United States and was the first PBS station to air British comedies.
  • Fair Park is home to the largest collection of Art Deco architecture in the world and the tallest ferris wheel in North America.
  • Fair Park also hosts the largest state fair in the country, the State Fair of Texas.
  • Also at Fair Park is the largest Cowboy in the World: Big Tex, a 52 foot (16 m) tall speaking cowboy statue.
  • Dallas has the highest number of shopping centers per capita in the United States and University Park Mall draws in more revenue per unit area than any other retail complex in the U.S.
  • The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas--a medical school and research university for graduate level science adjacent to Parkland Hospital--is home to four Nobel Laureates: three in physiology/medicine and one in chemistry
  • Dallas has expanded its Convention Center facilities to over 2 million square feet (185,000 m˛). The Center is now capable of accommodating up to 4 major conventions at one time and provides roof-top helicopter landing facilities.
  • Dallas offers cultural activities with the world-famous Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, the Dallas Museum of Art, several IMAX theaters, the African American Museum, the Latino Cultural Center and dozens of cultural activities practically every day.
  • The arts in Dallas adds $500 million to the annual economy and the cultural budget per capita is $7.23.
  • While many cities across the country are encountering water shortages, the long-term water supply plan developed by Dallas water utilities has ensured that the citizens will have sufficient water supply well through 2050.
  • The MasterCard/Visa idea originated in Dallas when three shopping centers, Preston Forest, Preston Royal, and Preston Center combined to issue PrestoCards to be used at all the shopping centers. Eventually, the concept was purchased and expanded.
  • Dallas houses the largest Urban Arts District in the United States.
  • Dallas has more shopping centers per capita and the Dallas-Fort Worth metro has more restaurants per capita than any United States city and metro.
  • The Dallas Public Library includes the largest Children's library center in the United States.
  • Dallas has the world's largest wholesale trade center: Dallas Market Center.
  • The world's first convenience store opened in Dallas in 1927 when the Southland

  Results from FactBites:
Dallas, Texas - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (5252 words)
Dallas is the third-largest city in the state of Texas and the ninth-largest in the United States.
Dallas was formally incorporated as a town in 1856, and in 1871 became a city.
Dallas is the county seat of Dallas County.
  More results at FactBites »



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