A Guide to the History of Dallas, Texas

Return to Home Page or choose another decade:

Timelines of Events in Dallas History: 1890s


n.d.: The town of Oak Cliff is chartered by the State of Texas.

n.d.: The U.S. Census finds that for the first and only time in its history, Dallas is the most populous city in Texas (over 38,000 inhabitants).

n.d: At the fairgrounds, a 2,000 person capacity Music Hall is added to the northeast corner of the General Exhibits or Exposition Building. A grandstand is erected between the Exposition Building and Main Entrance, primarily as a place for livestock exhibition. A 5/8-mile track for "bicycle racing, foot racing, dog racing, etc." is also built.

January 1: Town of East Dallas annexed by City of Dallas.

Feb. 7: Dallas County Courthouse burns down. Fortunately, most county records are saved.

Feb. 14: A bricklayer, Thomas James, dies after receiving a punch to the neck in a boxing match at Dallas Opera House the day before. Judge John Henry Brown rules it an accident.

March: Construction begins on new red sandstone county courthouse (the present "Old Red" courthouse in downtown Dallas).

March 6: Dallas City Council adopts an ordinance declaring that effective May 1, "eight hours a day shall constitute a legal day's work upon all public work the city of Dallas, whether said work is being done by day work or contract."


Sept. 21: At the fairgrounds a fire breaks out in the racing stables, killing 17 horses and destroying 402 stables. (Stables are rebuilt the following year.)


November: The Oriental Hotel, owned by Adolphus Busch of St. Louis, is opened.

Nov. 3: Lightning strikes the Exposition Building at the fairgrounds, setting fire to an exhibit. The fire is put out before it can spread.


January: The Dallas Morning News reports that the "finishing touches" were being put to the new red sandstone county courthouse.

May 20: The steamboat "Harvey" arrives in Dallas after navigating the Trinity River.

May 24: A "mammoth entertainment" and parade was held to celebrate the arrival of the "Harvey."


n.d.: Trinity River freezes over. Dallasites go skating.

n.d.: First recorded tornado hits area.

n.d.: The first Parkland Hospital is built at Maple Avenue and Oak Lawn.


n.d: The state legislature passes a law preventing a championship fight between Corbett and Fitzsimmons, planned for Dallas.

n.d.: "Privilege Row," an 830 foot long building for people wanting to do business on the fairgrounds, is erected between the racetrack grandstand and Power Hall. Several other improvements made.



n.d.: Main Exposition Building extensively remodeled in time for the annual state fair.

April: M. E. Miller spots mysterious "airship" from roof of county courthouse. (This is one of many nationwide sightings over a 10-day period that many people hold to have been a hoax of some kind. Said Miller: "It was shaped like a Mexican cigar, large in the middle and small at both ends, with great wings that made it look like an enormous butterfly. It was brilliantly illuminated by rays of two great search lights."

April 27: between 40,000 and 50,000 people attend dedication of Confederate monument in City Park.

June 19: African-American citizens of Dallas allowed to celebrate Emancipation Day ("Juneteenth") at fairgrounds.

Fall: First moving pictures in Dallas (of a boxing match between Fitzsimmons and Corbett at Carson City, Nevada on March 17, 1897) are shown at the annual State Fair.


n.d.: St. Paul's Hospital opens in old East Dallas.

April: After the Spanish-Amercan War begins, Robert Sandridge, a Dallas man serving in the U.S. Navy, fires the first shot to hit Havana's Morro Castle.

May 5: Dallas men who have volunteered for service in Spanish-American War depart for training at Camp Mabry, near Austin.

Nov. 9: Dallas men who volunteered for military service are mustered out at Dallas. Due to the brevity of the war, they never even leave the country.

Nov. 10: Electric streetcar strike begins.

Dec. 2: During the streetcar strike, a car is damaged by dynamite.

Dec. 6.: Streetcar strike is settled.


Oct. 2-4: Democratic presidential hopeful and future Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan speaks at State Fair auditorium.

Oct. 5: An automobile (owned by E.H.R. Green and driven by Jess Illingsworth) is seen on the streets of Dallas for the very first time.

Oct. 16: Thousands of black citizens attend "Negro Day" at the State Fair.

This website copyright © 2006-2011 (except where noted) by Steven Butler. All rights reserved.