Dallas, Texas (population 1,214,800), traces its beginnings to 1839, when John Neely Bryan, a lawyer from Tennessee, laid claim to 640 acres and laid out a town. Major milestones in the city's growth include the openings of the railroads in the 1870s, the Federal Reserve Bank in 1914, Southern Methodist University in 1915, and Dallas Love Field Airport in 1927.
With the 1930s discovery and development of the East Texas Oil Field—the largest petroleum deposit on earth at the time—Dallas became a center of oil-related financial and technical activity. The lowest point in Dallas history came on Nov. 22, 1963, when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on a downtown street.
Dallas holds the Nation's largest collection of Art Deco buildings and public art at the site of the 1936 Texas Centennial Exhibition (Fair Park). Since 1987, Dallas has leveraged $84 million in grants and assistance with $45 million in city money to preserve this National Historic Landmark, including Save America's Treasures and Transportation Enhancement grants. Seven million people attend events at the revitalized Fair Park each year, particularly the State Fair, and year-round leasing of the historic exhibition halls has generated increasing revenue.
The Dallas County Heritage Society formed to save Millermore, the last antebellum mansion, in 1966. Their efforts resulted in the creation of Old City Park.
In 1973, Swiss Avenue was designated as Dallas's first historic district. Today, the City of Dallas has 30 districts listed in the National Register and supports the work of a Landmark Commission and eight neighborhood task forces working to preserve historic resources.
The city offers extensive property tax incentives that encourage rehabilitation of historic buildings. Preservation Dallas is leading a cutting-edge architectural survey to document pre-1965 buildings using GIS technology. Conducted entirely by volunteers, the research will result in a searchable database and detailed maps and will be used for predictive analysis.
Dallas is one of the leading convention destinations in the U.S. and downtown rejuvenation has played an important part in this renaissance. The restored Old Red Courthouse serves as the Dallas Tourist Information Center in the Downtown Historic District.
Designated a Preserve America Community in September 2004.
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