Mesquite (population 124,523) was established in 1873 as a depot town for the Texas and Pacific Railroad. The community remained predominantly agrarian until after World War II, when the boom in suburban growth in the Dallas-Fort Worth area led to new development. The population grew from 1,696 in 1950 to more than 124,000 today.
Mesquite has not lost sight of its past, however. The city works through the non-profit organization Historic Mesquite, Inc., to promote historic preservation and preserve two of the community's most significant historic homesteads, the Florence Ranch (1871) and Opal Lawrence Historical Park (earliest portion 1876).
The historic importance of these sites was highlighted during Mesquite's recent participation in Quilt Mania, a Dallas-area celebration of quilts and quilt history. The quilts from the Lawrence family were displayed at the Florence Ranch and proved to be a significant tourist draw.
Mesquite promotes heritage tourism through participation in such regional programs, including the initiatives of the Texas Historical Commission's Texas Lakes Trail Region.
Designated a Preserve America Community in May 2004.