Dallas is not an old city by east coast standards. Although John Neely Bryan first settled the Trinity River Bottoms in 1847, it was only in
the 1870s, when the rail road came through, that Dallas became the city it is today. In the interim, Dallas grew into the home of the federal
reserve, the city blamed for a presidential assassination, Tom Landry's magical Cowyboy city, and the namesake of a bad soap opera with
an awesome
disco theme song.

Dallas is a city with a very storied past. The Dallas Historical Society has recognized that, but unfortunately city leaders haven't yet. This
must be the only town in the entire Southwest that doesn't want to be considered a southwestern city. Dallas' City Hall is always striving to
be "cosmopolitan," and in doing so razes untold buildings, condemns neighborhoods for ugly highways, and completely ignores its oldest
neighborhoods, like Fair Park and Queen City.

Yet there's a real 'hidden history' feel to Dallas. Because much has been  neglected, you can find old, dilapidated evidence of what the
city used to look like, before the 1970s and 1980s urban "planning" completely obliterated most cityscapes. Check out West Dallas, called
the "Devil's Back Porch" during the 1930s by notorious gangsters, like Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker (click here to take a tour of
Bonnie & Clyde sites). Walk around the Reunion area, which used to be a bluff over the Trinity before the river was diverted. Shuffle past
hundreds of homeless to catch of glimpse of the railroad past around city hall. Drive under that monstrosity, Interstate 30, and marvel at
the pride of Dallas,
Fair Park - a true gem of Art Deco culture where the mythic State Fair takes place. Visit The Dallas Museum of Art and
Nasher Sculptures. Stroll Dealy Plaza and visit the Texas Schoolbook Depository. An "x" in the middle of Elm Street marks the spot
where President Kennedy received the fatal bullet. Visit Dallas's old
cemeteries and learn history via tombstone.

I might sound like a critic, but that's because I love Dallas. I hope that city hall will finally get it together and realize that Dallas needs a
permanent county history museum, more preservation efforts, and a city plan that reroutes the concrete behemoths that slice through
the heart of the city.
Dallas is quickly losing its neon past. This great sign, advertising a long-gone motel off of Northwest Highway and Harry Hines, is now gone.
Original alignment of Houston & Texas Central tracks near the Pilgrim's Pride plant in South Dallas.
Dallas: Hum that Tune
A crypt in the middle of downtown's cemetery. Yes, it's empty! I think!
A modern, vintage Dallas scene
Read about my three favorite things about Dallas in my blog!
Pacific Avenue, near the West End Entertainment District, is now used by the DART rail. The tracks mirror the old Texas & Pacific railroad,
which once lumbered right through the Pacific Avenue. This area used to be called Frogtown, where gambling halls, brothels, cribs, and
saloons were quasi-legal until a 1913 crackdown.
Fancy tile with no building in downtown Dallas is now now under a parking lot (this happens more often than not in Dallas).
The wooden fence at the grassy knoll seems to have it all figured out.
Questions or comments? E-mail me: robin@redriverhistorian.com
The Mission Motel off the old Bankhead Highway in Oak Cliff, just west of downtown Dallas, has been razed. Click on the image for a surpise!
Dallas entry sign along US 80 east of downtown, taken by Arthur Rothstein in 1942. Library of Congress.
An original alignment of the Houston Texas and Central tracks dead end into Interstate 30. This railroad bed was initially built in 1872. In
downtown Dallas, the tracks intersected with the Texas & Pacific that came from the east, marking the first major intersection of interstate
railroads in North Texas. Today, this important intersection lays under concrete highway bridges and parking lots. This section of the tracks has
been removed since this photograph was taken (updated: 2018).
The famous Triple Underpass, where Elm, Main, and Commerce merge at the western edge of downtown Dallas, is centered around Dealy Plaza
(the white columned structure on the right).
. To the left in this photo (facing north) is the school book depository, where Lee Harvey Oswald
was perced on November 22, 1963. You can barely make out an "X" on Elm Street - this is the location where President John F. Kennedy was
pierced by the fatal bullet. The pink granite building on the left middle in the photo is the now-disused Dallas County jail and courtroom
building - here, Jack Ruby was tried for the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald. The red building on the right is the "Old Red" Dallas County
courthouse, now home to a very interesting museum. This photo was taken before the county restored the tower atop the courthouse.
to catch some more great
scenes with my camera, how
Dallas's Fair Park is the only place in the world that depicts the founding myths of the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana (Parks & Recreation!)