A Guide to the History of Dallas, Texas

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Timelines of Events in Dallas History: 1870s



April 28: Dallas incorporated as a city.

October 21: Cornerstone of new county courthouse laid.


n.d.: The Sanger brothers arrive from Corsicana to open their first store.

n.d.: First telegraph line reaches Dallas.

n.d.: Construction begins on new county courthouse.

March 2: Sarah Cockrell builds first iron bridge across the Trinity; cost $50,000.

July 16: First train, of the Houston and Texas Central line, arrives in Dallas. A celebratory "Grand Barbecue" is held at fairgrounds.

November 28: John Neely Bryan, the founder of Dallas, digs the first spadeful of dirt at groundbreaking ceremonies for Dallas & Wichita Railroad.


n.d.: The "Panic of 1873" causes nationwide economic crisis; Dallas relatively untouched.

n.d.: New two-story county courthouse, made of limestone, completed.

n.d.: Dallas' first opera house is built.

n.d.: First gas service is offered.

n.d.: Texas and Pacific Railroad reaches Dallas.

Feb. 7: The first streetcars, pulled by Mexican mules, begin operating in Dallas.


n.d.: The site of City Park sold to the City of Dallas by James J. Eakin.

n.d.: Ursuline Academy, a private Catholic girls' school, is opened on Bryan Street.

n.d.: Dallas' first public schools (four white, two black) begin operating.

December: Episcopal Archbishop Alexander C. Garrett and family arrive in Dallas.


n.d.: The "Outlaw Queen" Belle Starr rides through the streets of Dallas.

July 13: Dallas County Pioneer Association is formed.


n.d.: City of Dallas takes charge of public schools.

n.d.: Waterworks established at Browder Springs.

n.d.: The Dallas Times, an afternoon newspaper, begins publication.

Fall: Huge swarms of grasshoppers plague area farmers.


Sept. 18: At age 66, Dallas founder John Neely Bryan dies in the state insane asylum at Austin and is buried there in a pauper's grave.

October: North Texas Fair held in Dallas.


n.d.: Outlaw Sam Bass robs several trains near Dallas.

May 28: State Savings Bank fails.


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