A Guide to the History of Dallas, Texas

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Pioneer Log Cabin

Pioneer Cabin in Downtown Dallas, TexasIn the Dallas County Historical Plaza on Commerce Street, just a block east of Dealey Plaza, stands a little log cabin that recalls the city's pioneer settlers. The cabin, formerly heralded as the very first dwelling in the city, is now more correctly identified as one of the earliest. Long associated with John Neely Bryan, a Tennessee trader who founded the city of Dallas, it is now believed that the cabin is actually the handiwork of a Dallas County pioneer named Gideon Pemberton, who migrated to Texas from Kentucky. Certainly, the structure stood on Pemberton's land when it was sold to one J. F. Pinson, who in turn sold the land to the Reverend R. C. Buckner, founder of Buckner's Orphan Home. Buckner moved the cabin to the grounds of the orphanage, located on the outskirts of Dallas, where it stood for many years. During the 1920s the rude dwelling was displayed at the State Fair, where John Neely Bryan Jr., then eighty years old, "lived in it" for a while. Afterward, the cabin was dismantled and place in storage. In 1936, the Texas Centennial year, the cabin was given to the City of Dallas. At that time it was reconstructed and placed in the shadow of the "Old Red" courthouse, facing Main Street. In 1970 it was moved to its present location. Twenty years later, it was restored again, at a cost of $33,000 and rededicated at a ceremony held on May 14, 1990.

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