Downtown from the Reunion tower's observation deck (as of Feburary 28, 2005).

Dallas is the third-largest city in the state of Texas and the ninth-largest city in the United States. It is the main cultural and economic center of the Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington metropolitan area (colloquially referred to as Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex), which is the fifth-largest metropolitan area in the U.S. with a population of 5.7 million in 12 counties.

The city was founded in 1841 and formally incorporated as a city on 2 February 1856. Dallas is known globally as a center for telecommunications, computer technology, banking, and transportation. It is the core of the largest inland metropolitan area in the nation and lacks any direct link to the sea—Dallas's prominence despite this comes from its historical importance as a center for the oil and cotton industries, its position along numerous railroad lines, and its powerful industrial and financial tycoons.

As of the 2000 U.S. Census, Dallas's population was 1.1 million (though a 2006 estimate placed the population at more than 1.26 million.) The city is also large in geographic area as it covers 385 square miles (997 km²) and is the county seat of Dallas County. Dallas is one of 11 U.S. global cities as it is ranked "Gamma World City" by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group & Network.

History Edit


Flag of New Spain, the province of Spain in which Dallas was included from the 1500s till 1821.

Native Americans inhabited the Dallas area before it was claimed, along with the rest of Texas, as a part of the Spanish Province of New Spain in the 1500s. The area was very close to French territory, but the boundary was carried upward a bit in 1819 with the Adams-Onís Treaty. Present-day Dallas remained under Spanish rule until 1821, when Mexico declared independence from Spain. Dallas joined the new nation, and became part of the state of Coahuila y Tejas. The Republic of Texas broke off from Mexico in 1836 (and remained an independent country for nearly 10 years), and this is when Dallas's development began.

The city of Dallas was founded by John Neely Bryan in 1841 after first surveying the area in 1839. Bryan, who shared Sam Houston's insight into the wisdom of Native American customs, must also have realized that these Caddo trails intersected at one of the few natural fords for hundreds of miles along the wide Trinity floodplain. Dallas County was established in 1846 and was named after George Mifflin Dallas, who was the eleventh United States Vice President at the time. However, the origin of the city's name is debatable; Bryan stated only that it was named "after my friend Dallas".

Dallas was formally incorporated as a town in 1856. The city had a few slaves, mostly brought by settlers from Alabama and Georgia. It was a fairly insignificant place until after the American Civil War in which it was part of the Confederate States of America, and only legally became a city in 1871. The city paid the Houston and Central Texas Railroad $5,000 to shift its route 20 miles (32 km) to the west and build its north-south tracks through Dallas, rather than through Corsicana as planned. A year later, Dallas leaders could not pay the Texas and Pacific Railroad to locate there, so they devised a way to trick the Railroad—Dallas had a rider attached to a state law which required the railroad to build its tracks through Browder Springs—which turned out to be just south of Main Street. The major north-south and east-west Texas railroad routes intersected in Dallas in 1873, thus ensuring its future as a commercial center.

By the turn of the twentieth century Dallas was the leading drug, book, jewelry, and wholesale liquor market in the Southwestern United States. It also quickly became the center of trade in cotton, grain, and even buffalo. It was the world's leading inland cotton market, and it still led the world in manufacture of saddlery and cotton gin machinery [6]. As it further 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 was invented in Dallas by Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments. During the 1950s and 1960s, Dallas became the nation's third-largest technology center, with the growth of such companies as Ling-Tempco-Vought (LTV Corporation) and Texas Instruments. In 1957 two developers, Trammell Crow and John M. Stemmons, opened a Home Furnishings Mart that grew into the Dallas Market Center, the largest wholesale trade complex in the world. On 22 November 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on Elm Street while his motorcade passed through Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas.


A portion of the downtown skyline.

A portion of the downtown skylineIn the 1970s and 1980s, Dallas underwent the building boom which produced a distinctive contemporary profile for the downtown area and a prominent skyline, influenced by nationally acclaimed architects. 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. Also in the mid-to-late 1980s, many banks, especially in Dallas, collapsed during the Savings and Loan crisis, nearly destroying the city's economy and scrapping plans for hundreds of structures. Because of the immense worldwide success of the hit television series Dallas, the city became one of the most internationally recognizable U.S cities during the 80s. In the 1990s, Dallas became known as Texas's Silicon Valley, or the "Silicon Prairie."

Like many major US cities, Dallas has experienced an "urban renewal" in the 2000s. From the mid-1980s to 2005, not a single highrise structure was built within the downtown freeway loop. In 2005, three towers began construction amid tens of residential conversions and smaller residential projects. By the year 2010, the North Central Texas Council of Governments expects 10,000 residents to live within the loop. Just north, Uptown is one of the hottest real estate markets in the country.

Geography and Climate Edit

Dallas is the county seat of Dallas County. Portions of the city extend into neighboring Collin, Denton, Kaufman and Rockwall counties.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 385.0 square miles (997.1 km²)—342.5 square miles (887.2 km²) of it is land and 42.5 square miles (110.0 km²) of it (11.03%) is water. These statistics are only for the city of Dallas proper. In fact, Dallas is a relatively small part of the much larger urbanized area known as the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. About a quarter of all Texans live in the DFW Metroplex.

Cityscape Edit

Haskell Ave

Tree-lined Haskell Ave in Cityplace, near Uptown.

The City of Dallas has many vibrant communities and eclectic neighborhoods. Major areas in the city include: Downtown, the center of the city and the epicenter of urban revival, coupled with Oak Lawn and Uptown Dallas, the shiny new urbanist areas thriving with shops, restaurants, and nightlife. East Dallas is home to Deep Ellum, a trendy arts area, the homey Lakewood, and Fair Park. North Dallas is home to mansions as palatial as Versailles in Preston Hollow, strong middle-class communities like Lake Highlands around White Rock Lake, and high-powered shopping at the Dallas Galleria, NorthPark Center, and Preston Center. South Dallas lays claim to the Cedars, an eclectic artist hotbed, and Pleasant Grove, a poorer section of the southeastern city. Oak Cliff is a gorgeous hilly area with beautiful old homes and schools and even entertainment districts like the Bishop Arts District. The city is further surrounded by tens of suburbs and encloses enclaves like Cockrell Hill, Highland Park and University Park.

Geology Edit


Astronaut photograph of clockwise: Plano-Dallas-DFW airport/Grapevine-Lewisville area. This is the eastern half of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. April, 2005.

Dallas, and its surrounding area, is mostly flat and lies at an elevation ranging from 450 to 550 feet (137 to 168 m). The western edge of the Austin chalk formation, a limestone escarpment, rises 200 feet (61 m) and runs roughly north-south through Dallas County. The uplift is particularly noticeable in the neighborhood of Oak Cliff and the adjacent cities of Cockrell Hill, Cedar Hill, Grand Prairie, and Irving. Marked variations in terrain are found as well in cities immediately to the west in Tarrant County surrounding Fort Worth.

The Trinity River is a major Texas waterway that passes from the city of Irving into West Dallas, where it is paralleled by Interstate 35E along the Stemmons Corridor, then flows alongside western and southern downtown, and ultimately between South Dallas and Pleasant Grove, paralleled by Interstate 45, where it exits into unincorporated Dallas County and heads southeast to Houston. The river is flanked on both sides with a 50 feet (15 m) earthen levee to keep the city from flooding. Several bridges traverse the river connecting southern Dallas to downtown Dallas. From the early 2000s to the 2010s, the Trinity River Project, a major public works project undertaken by the city of Dallas, will improve the river along its length.

White Rock Lake is Dallas's other significant water feature. The lake and surrounding park is a popular destination among boaters, joggers, bikers, and skaters in the Lakewood/Casa Linda neighborhoods of East Dallas. The lake also boasts 66 acre (27 ha) Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden on its shore. Bachman Lake, just northwest of Love Field, is a smaller lake and surrounding park that is also used for recreation. Lake Ray Hubbard, a 22,745 acre (9,205 ha) lake is a vast and popular recreational lake located in an extension of Dallas between Garland, Rowlett, Rockwall and Sunnyvale. Mountain Creek Lake is a small lake along Dallas's border with Grand Prairie and is home to the (defunct as of September 1998) Naval Air Station Dallas (Hensley Field). North Lake, a small lake in an extension of Dallas surrounded by Irving and Coppell, served primarily as a water source for a nearby power plant but the surrounding area is now being targeted for redevelopment due to its proximity to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (a plan that the neighboring cities oppose .)

Climate Edit


The DFW Metroplex at night, photographed from the International Space Station in early 2003. Dallas is the larger nexus of light on the right (east), Fort Worth the smaller on the left (west). Blurriness over parts of the image is caused by clouds.

Dallas gets about 37.1 inch (941.1 mm) of rain per year, much of which is delivered in the spring. Dallas has 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, strong cold fronts from the north pass through Dallas, plummeting temperatures well below freezing. The average annual snowfall in Dallas is 2.5 inches (6.35 cm), with snowfall seen six days out of the year and snow accumulation seen two days out of the year. Occasionally, warm and humid air from the south overrides cold, dry air, leading to freezing rain, which usually causes major disruptions in the city 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.

Spring and fall and the pleasant, moderate temperatures accompanying those seasons are somewhat short-lived in Dallas. However short the seasons are, 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 cliché 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's spring weather. The sporadic volatility of the spring season is coupled with a very pleasant "normality"—barring storms, Dallas in spring is very mild and enjoyable. Similarly, late September, October, and early November is very pleasant and is typically storm-free.

Dallas lies near the southern end of Tornado Alley, which 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, tornadoes.

Tornadoes are perhaps the biggest threat to the city of Dallas. They are common in the Dallas suburbs in the spring and summer, but the city itself is not immune to being hit by a major tornado. Many experts fear a direct hit on downtown Dallas by an F4 or F5 tornado can cause major devastation and kill hundreds, perhaps thousands and leave a large part of the city in ruins. Dallas was hit by a tornado on April 2, 1957 that likely would've registered as an F3, but it luckily missed downtown. In May 2000, the "Fort Worth Tornado" hit neighborhing Fort Worth's downtown, causing great damage to many of the city's skyscrapers .

The Metroplex experiences a particularly acute springtime "monsoon" season every year—around the middle of March—that rapidly feeds a unique region-wide runoff that swells Johnson Creek (in Arlington and Grand Prairie), as well as the West and Elm Forks of the Trinity River, onto several square miles of flood plain inside the metro area, much of it inhabited. Annually in this month, many neighborhoods in these cities have 4 or more feet of water inside dwellings, and low-lying developed areas adjacent to the Stemmons Corridor and Oak Cliff in Dallas experience severe flooding.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture places the city of Dallas in Plant Hardiness Zone 8a. Dallas has the 10th worst ozone air pollution in the nation according to the American Lung Association, worse than Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and New York City, but better than Los Angeles, Fresno, California, and Houston. In reality, much of the air pollution in Dallas, and the DFW Metroplex in general, comes from a hazardous materials incineration plant in Midlothian, a small town just south of Dallas, as well as many concrete installations in neighboring Ellis County.

The average daily low in Dallas is 57°F (14°C) and the average daily high in Dallas is 77°F (25°C).

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Avg high 55°F (13°C) 61°F (16°C) 69°F (21°C) 77°F (25°C) 84°F (29°C) 92°F (33°C) 96°F (36°C) 96°F (36°C) 89°F (32°C) 79°F (26°C) 66°F (19°C) 57°F (14°C) 77°F (25°C)
Avg low 36°F (2°C) 41°F (5°C) 49°F (9°C) 56°F (13°C) 65°F (18°C) 73°F (23°C) 77°F (25°C) 76°F (24°C) 69°F (21°C) 58°F (14°C) 47°F (18°C) 39°F (4°C) 57°F (14°C)
Rainfall 1.89" (88.4mm) 2.31" (78.0mm) 3.13" (104.6mm) 3.46" (77.7mm) 5.30" (106.2mm) 3.92" (83.3mm) 2.43" (100.6mm) 2.17" (102.9mm) 2.65" (103.1mm) 4.65" (81.0mm) 2.61" (87.6mm) 2.53" (93.7mm) 37.1" (941.1mm)

Demographics Edit

Dallas Pop Den 2000

Population density map per Census 2000.

Population by year
Year Pop.
1860 678
1870 3,000
1880 10,385
1890 38,067
1910 150,000
1920 158,976
1930 260,475
1940 294,734
1950 434,462
1960 679,684
1970 844,401
1980 904,078
1990 1,006,877
2000 1,188,580
2004 (est.) 1,210,393
2006 (est.) 1,260,950

As of the census of 2000, there were 1,188,580 people, 451,833 households, and 266,581 families residing in the city proper, which is bounded by largely developed suburbs and exurbs. The population density was 3,469.9 people per square mile (1,339.7/km²). There were 484,117 housing units at an average density of 1,413.3 per square mile (545.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 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 were Hispanic or Latino of any race. Hispanics outnumbered African-Americans for the first time in the 2000 census as the largest minority group in Dallas. Many newly-arrived Hispanics have settled in poorer neighborhoods like Oak Cliff that were once predominately African American. While Hispanics have moved in, many African Americans have migrated further south to cities like Cedar Hill or DeSoto that were predominately White communities until recently.

There were 451,833 households out of which 30.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.8% were married couples living together, 14.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.0% are classified as non-families by the United States Census Bureau. Of 451,833 households, 23,959 are unmarried partner households: 18,684 heterosexual, 3,615 same-sex male, and 1,660 same-sex female households. 32.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.58 and the average family size was 3.37.

In the city the population was 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 were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 101.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $37,628, and the median income for a family was $40,921. Males had a median income of $31,149 versus $28,235 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,183. About 14.9% of families and 17.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.1% of those under age 18 and 13.1% of those age 65 or over. The median price for a house was $118,435, and the Dallas area has seen a steady increase in the cost of homes over the past 5 years.

Economy Edit

Dallas and the surrounding Metroplex are very important economically. The city is sometimes referred to as Texas's Silicon Valley or the "Silicon Prairie" because of a high concentration of telecom companies. Originally seeded with a nexus of communications engineering and production talent following World War II by companies like Collins Radio Corp., the epicenter of the area's telecom industry is along the "Telecom Corridor" which is home to more than 5,700 companies and regional offices for Alcatel, AT&T, Ericsson, Fujitsu, MCI, Nokia, Nortel, Rockwell, Sprint and Verizon. The headquarters for Texas Instruments is also located there.

AMR Corporation (parent company of American Airlines), Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation, Radio Shack, and Pier 1 Imports are based in Fort Worth. id Software is based in Mesquite. ExxonMobil, Kimberly-Clark, 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 the Sabre System, is headquartered in Southlake. Halliburton Energy Services was once based in Dallas, but moved to Houston in 2003.

Dallas has more shopping centers per capita than any United States city and metro . There are several malls scattered around the Dallas/Ft.Worth Metroplex.

The city of Dallas is also home to 12 billionaires, concentrated in the Preston Hollow area of North Dallas. This designation places Dallas in 8th place (a tie with Paris, France) among cities in the world with the most billionaires. Nearby Fort Worth holds 11th place with 9.

Law and Government Edit

The current mayor of Dallas is Laura Miller. The city is split into 14 different council districts, with council members appointed to the city council for each district. The city operates as a mayor-council government, which was recently contested in favor of a strong-mayor city charter, but shot down by Dallas voters.

In the 2005-2006 fiscal year, the city's total budget (the sum of operating and capital budgets) was $2,218,345,070. The city has seen a steady increase in its budget throughout its history due to sustained growth: the budget was $1,717,449,783 in 2002-2003, $1,912,845,956 in 2003-2004, and $2,049,685,734 in 2004-2005.

House of Representatives Senate
Name Party District Name Party
Sam Johnson Republican District 3 Kay Bailey Hutchison Republican
Ralph Hall Republican District 4 John Cornyn Republican
Jeb Hensarling Republican District 5
Kenny Marchant Republican District 24
Eddie Bernice Johnson Democrat District 30
Pete Sessions Republican District 32
Texas Legislature
Name Party District Name Party District
Bob Deuell Republican District 2 John Carona Republican District 16
Florence Shapiro Republican District 8 Royce West Democrat District 23
Chris Harris Republican District 9 Craig Estes Republican District 30

Crime Edit

From 1998 until 2004 (the most recent year with available statistics), the city of Dallas has had the highest overall crime rate for the nine United States cities with over 1 million people. Violent crime in Dallas was also ranked #1 during the same time period, though the crime was centered mainly around the city's expressways and run-down apartment complexes. Murders peaked at 500 in 1991. It then fluctuated from 227 in 2000 to 240 in 2001, 196 in 2002, 223 in 2003, 275 in 2004, and finally 198 in 2005, the lowest in recent years.