City in the U.S. state of Texas and the largest city and seat of Dallas County, with portions extending into Collin, Denton, Kaufman and Rockwall counties. With an estimated 2018 population of 1,345,047, it is the ninth most-populous city in the U.S. and third in Texas after Houston and San Antonio. Located in North Texas, the city of Dallas is the main core of the largest metropolitan area in the Southern United States and the largest inland metropolitan area in the U.S. that lacks any navigable link to the sea. It is the most populous city in the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex, the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the country at 7.5 million people as of 2018.
Dallas and nearby Fort Worth were initially developed due to the construction of major railroad lines through the area allowing access to cotton, cattle and later oil in North and East Texas. The construction of the Interstate Highway System reinforced Dallas's prominence as a transportation hub, with four major interstate highways converging in the city and a fifth interstate loop around it. Dallas then developed as a strong industrial and financial center and a major inland port, due to the convergence of major railroad lines, interstate highways and the construction of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, one of the largest and busiest airports in the world. In addition, Dallas has DART, Dallas Area Rapid Transit, with different colored train lines that transport throughout the metroplex.
Dominant sectors of its diverse economy include defense, financial services, information technology, telecommunications, and transportation. Dallas is home to 9 Fortune 500 companies within the city limits. The Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex hosts additional Fortune 500 companies, including American Airlines (Fort Worth) and ExxonMobil (Irving). Over 41 colleges and universities are located within its metropolitan area, which is the most of any metropolitan area in Texas. The city has a population from a myriad of ethnic and religious backgrounds and one of the largest LGBT communities in the U.S. WalletHub named Dallas the fifth most-diverse city in the U.S. in 2018.
Preceded by thousands of years of varying cultures, the Caddo people inhabited the Dallas area before Spanish colonists claimed the territory of Texas in the 18th century as a part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. Later, France also claimed the area but never established much settlement. In all, six flags have flown over Dallas: those of France, Spain, and Mexico, the flag of the Republic of Texas, the Confederate flag, and the flag of the United States of America.
In 1819, the Adams-Onís Treaty between the United States and Spain defined the Red River as the northern boundary of New Spain, officially placing the future location of Dallas well within Spanish territory. The area remained under Spanish rule until 1821, when Mexico declared independence from Spain, and the area was considered part of the Mexican state of Coahuila y Tejas. In 1836, Texians, with a majority of Anglo-American settlers, gained independence from Mexico and formed the Republic of Texas.
Three years after Texas achieved independence, John Neely Bryan surveyed the area around present-day Dallas. In 1839, accompanied by his dog and a Cherokee he called Ned, he planted a stake in the ground on a bluff located near three forks of the Trinity River and left. Two years later, in 1841, he returned to establish a permanent settlement named Dallas. The origin of the name is uncertain. The official historical marker states it was named after Vice President George M. Dallas of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. However, this is disputed. Other potential theories for the origin include his brother, Commodore Alexander James Dallas, as well as brothers Walter R. Dallas or James R. Dallas. A further theory gives the origin as the village of Dallas, Moray, Scotland, similar to the way Houston, Texas was named after Sam Houston whose ancestors came from the Scottish village of Houston, Renfrewshire. The Republic of Texas was annexed by the United States in 1845 and Dallas County was established the following year. Dallas was formally incorporated as a city on February 2, 1856.
In the mid-1800s, a group of French Socialists established La Réunion, a short-lived community, along the Trinity River in what is now West Dallas.
With the construction of railroads, Dallas became a business and trading center and was booming by the end of the 19th century. It became an industrial city, attracting workers from Texas, the South, and the Midwest.
The Praetorian Building in Dallas of 15 stories, built in 1909, was the first skyscraper west of the Mississippi and the tallest building in Texas for some time. It marked the prominence of Dallas as a city. A racetrack for thoroughbreds was built and their owners established the Dallas Jockey Club. Trotters raced at a track in Fort Worth, where a similar drivers club was based. The rapid expansion of population increased competition for jobs and housing.
In 1921, the Mexican president Álvaro Obregón along with the former revolutionary general visited Downtown Dallas's Mexican Park in Little Mexico; the small park was on the corner of Akard and Caruth Street, site of the current Fairmont Hotel. The small neighborhood of Little Mexico was home to a Latin American population that had been drawn to Dallas by factors including the American Dream, better living conditions, and the Mexican Revolution.
On November 22, 1963, United States President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on Elm Street while his motorcade passed through Dealey Plaza in Downtown Dallas. The upper two floors of the building from which assassin Lee Harvey Oswald shot Kennedy, the Texas School Book Depository, have been converted into a historical museum covering the former president's life and accomplishments. Kennedy died at Parkland Memorial Hospital, 30 minutes after the shooting.
On July 7, 2016, multiple shots were fired at a peaceful protest in Downtown Dallas, held against the police killings of two black men from other states. The gunman, later identified as Micah Xavier Johnson, began firing at police officers at 8:58 p.m., killing five officers and injuring nine. Two bystanders were also injured. This marked the deadliest day for U.S. law enforcement since the September 11 attacks. Johnson told police during a standoff that he was upset about recent police shootings of black men and wanted to kill whites, especially white officers. After hours of negotiation failed, police resorted to a robot-delivered bomb, killing Johnson inside El Centro College. The shooting occurred in an area of hotels, restaurants, businesses, and residential apartments only a few blocks away from Dealey Plaza.
Arts and museums
The Arts District in the northern section of Downtown is home to several arts venues and is the largest contiguous arts district in the United States. Notable venues in the district include the Dallas Museum of Art; the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, home to the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Dallas Wind Symphony; the Nasher Sculpture Center; and the Trammell & Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art. The Perot Museum of Nature and Science, also in Downtown Dallas, is a natural history and science museum. Designed by 2005 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate Thom Mayne and his firm Morphosis Architects, the 180,000-square-foot facility has six floors and stands about 14 stories high.
Venues that are part of the AT&T Dallas Center for the Performing Arts include City Performance Hall; the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre, home to the Dallas Theater Center and the Dallas Black Dance Theater; and the Winspear Opera House, home to the Dallas Opera and Texas Ballet Theater.
Also, not far north of the area is the Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University. In 2009, it joined up with Madrid's Prado Museum for a three-year partnership. The Prado focuses on Spanish visual art and has a collection of Spanish art in North America, with works by de Juanes, El Greco, Fortuny, Goya, Murillo, Picasso, Pkensa, Ribera, Rico, Velasquez, Zurbaran, and other Spaniards. These works, as well as non-Spanish highlights like sculptures by Rodin and Moore, have been so successful of a collaboration that the Prado and Meadows have agreed upon an extension of the partnership.
The former Texas School Book Depository, from which, according to the Warren Commission Report, Lee Harvey Oswald shot and killed President John F. Kennedy in 1963, has served since the 1980s as a county government office building, except for its sixth and seventh floors, which house the Sixth Floor Museum.
The Arts District is also home to DISD's Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, a magnet school that was recently expanded.
City Center District, next to the Arts District, is home to the Dallas Contemporary. Deep Ellum, immediately east of Downtown, originally became popular during the 1920s and 1930s as the prime jazz and blues hot spot in the South. Artists such as Blind Lemon Jefferson, Robert Johnson, Huddie "Lead Belly" Ledbetter, and Bessie Smith played in original Deep Ellum clubs such as the Harlem and the Palace. Today, Deep Ellum is home to hundreds of artists who live in lofts and operate in studios throughout the district alongside bars, pubs, and concert venues. A major art infusion in the area results from the city's lax stance on graffiti, and a number of public spaces, including tunnels, sides of buildings, sidewalks, and streets, are covered in murals. One major example, the Good-Latimer tunnel, was torn down in late 2006 to accommodate the construction of a light rail line through the site.
Like Deep Ellum before it, the Cedars neighborhood to the south of Downtown has also seen a growing population of studio artists and an expanding roster of entertainment venues. The area's art scene began to grow in the early 2000s with the opening of Southside on Lamar, an old Sears Roebuck and Company warehouse converted into lofts, studios, and retail. Within this building, Southside on Lamar hosts the Janette Kennedy Gallery with rotating gallery exhibitions featuring many local, national, and international artists. Current attractions include Gilley's Dallas and Poor David's Pub. Dallas Mavericks owner and local entrepreneur Mark Cuban purchased land along Lamar Street near Cedars Station in September 2005, and locals speculate he is planning an entertainment complex for the site. South of the Trinity River, the Bishop Arts District in Oak Cliff is home to a number of studio artists living in converted warehouses. Walls of buildings along alleyways and streets are painted with murals, and the surrounding streets contain many eclectic restaurants and shops.
Dallas has an Office of Cultural Affairs as a department of the city government. The office is responsible for six cultural centers throughout the city, funding for local artists and theaters, initiating public art projects, and running the city-owned classical radio station WRR. The Los Angeles-class submarine USS Dallas was planned to become a museum ship near the Trinity River after her decommissioning in September 2014, but this has since been delayed. It will be taken apart into massive sections in Houston and be transported by trucks to the museum site and will be put back together.