“Dallas County comprises 902 square miles of the primarily flat, heavy Blackland Prairie. Elevations in the county range from 382 to 850 feet above sea level.”
“In 1819 or 1820 sixty Cherokee warriors and their families arrived from Arkansas under the leadership of Chief Bowl, a Scots-Indian. After a three-year battle with prairie tribes, during which the Cherokees lost a third of their warriors, the Cherokees withdrew. In 1837 rangers from an expedition under the command of Lt. A. B. Van Benthuysen camped on Turtle Creek after an engagement with Indians fifty miles to the north. By 1840 American explorers had begun to enter the area. The first to remain was John Neely Bryan, who arrived in November 1841 with his dog and a Cherokee friend, Ned.”
“The future Dallas County east of the Trinity was then part of Nacogdoches County, and the part west of the Trinity belonged to Robertson County. The area was an ideal place to settle because of its rich soil and ample water.”
“On March 30, 1846, Dallas County was officially formed by order of the state legislature from portions of Nacogdoches and Robertson counties, and named probably for George Mifflin Dallas, vice president of the United States under James K. Polk. At Dallas, the temporary county seat, a log cabin was built to serve as a courthouse. In 1850 an election was held to find a permanent county seat. A runoff election was held after the first vote yielded 191 votes for Dallas, 178 for Hord’s Ridge, and 101 for Cedar Springs. Dallas beat Hord’s Ridge 244 to 216 in the runoff. By 1850 Dallas County had a population of 2,743, and by 1860 the number of residents had almost tripled to 8,665.”
“Between 1880 and 1920, Dallas County remained primarily rural and agricultural, although manufacturing was growing.”
“Farming became insignificant in Dallas County compared to manufacturing. The number of farms declined from 3,519 in 1950 to 927 in 1987, though the average value of each farm rose more than twentyfold. Wheat production increased through the mid-1980s and began to fall again, but still remained above the 1950s level. Other crops dropped dramatically, especially cotton, which declined to its lowest level since 1850. The number of horses remained stable, at around 3,000 from 1950 to the 1980s, but all other livestock decreased dramatically. Manufacturing, in contrast, grew rapidly. The number of manufacturers in Dallas County more than tripled between 1947 and 1987, from 1,068 to 3,616.”
“In the 1980s the county had thirty-one district courts, twenty-one county courts, and twelve justices of the peace, as well as twenty-five fire departments, twenty-four police departments, and four jails. Thirty-five hospitals were in operation.”
Handbook of Texas Online, Lisa C. Maxwell, “DALLAS COUNTY”
I was the guest of Dallas and Dallas County on September 7, 2010 and I returned to rephotograph the courthouse on August 9, 2013.
Dallas County Courthouse – 1892
Architect: Orlopp and Kusener
Number for the County: Fourth
Style: Richardsonian Romanesque
Driving into Dealey Plaza on Commerce Street with the courthouse now in view
The Old Red Museum is now housed on the interior of the historic building.
At the museum, you’re greeted by this neon pegasus, a smaller scale version of the iconic Dallas symbol atop the Magnolia Hotel downtown.
Dallas: Old and New
The courthouse is very close in proximity to the JFK Assassination Site.A tree on the grounds was taken from Sam Houston’s homestead in Huntsville.
Next Courthouse: Tarrant County