A Guide to the History of Dallas, Texas

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Timelines of Events in Dallas History: 1900s


n.d.: Thanks to efforts of Dallas Federation of Women's Clubs, the cornerstone is laid for new Carnegie Library, the first in the city.

n.d.: Dallas Symphony Orchestra performs for first time.

January: The Continental (Cotton) Gin Company is organized.

September: Future President Harry S. Truman stops in Dallas on his way to visit relatives in Hunt County.

Sept. 29-Oct. 14: Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show performs in the racetrack infield during the State Fair.

Oct. 5: African-American educator Booker T. Washington speaks at the Fair Park auditorium on "Colored People's Day" at the Fair.


June 19: Dallas' African-American population celebrates Emancipation Day, a.k.a. "Juneteenth," at Shady View Park and the "colored fairgrounds." At Freedmen's town of Egypt, N. W. Harllee "addressed the colored people and a large number of whites."

July 4: First automobile races in Dallas and all of Texas held at Fair Park racetrack between L.S. Thorne and H.D. Raff. Thorne won and was awarded a gold medal.

July 4: The Colored Tri-Centennial and Cotton Exposition opens at the "Colored Fairgrounds" following a parade through the streets of the city; the exposition lasts through August.

Aug. 12: Dallas City Council passes first automobile ordinance, limiting speed on city streets to 7 (yes, seven!) m.p.h.

Fall: Recruited by Rev. Hudson Stuck, Dean of St. Matthew's Cathedral, Socialist teacher George Clifton Edwards begins teaching in a night school for impoverished mill workers in South Dallas.

Fall: State Fair features motor-bicycle and auto races.

Oct. 30: New Carnegie Library opens at corner of Commerce and Harwood streets


n.d.: Bachman's Dam Lake built to provide water supply for city of Dallas.

n.d.: Electric Interurban services begins between Dallas and Fort Worth.

n.d.: Henry Garrett and a partner (either Jess Illingsworth or Burnsey Lipscomb) open first automobile agency in Dallas, in Wilson Building annex.

Jan. 1: Automobile races held at fairgrounds; steam, electric, and gasoline-powered vehicles participate.

April 22: United Confederate Veterans hold national reunion at fairgrounds.

June 10: Coca Cola Company opens a bottling plant on Elm Street.

July 20: At the fairgrounds, the original wooden Exposition Building and adjoining Music Hall catch fire and burn to the ground.

October: Renowned pianist Paderewski performs at State Fair. Automobile and motorcycle races held at racetrack during State Fair.

October 8: "Saloon Smasher" Carrie Nation speaks at auditorium that has been converted into a Music Hall (she also creates a sensation by visiting a saloon tent and admonishing the bartender and patrons).

October 11: Buffalo Bill's "Wild West" performs in the racetrack infield at the fairgrounds.


n.d.: Dean Hudson Stuck of St. Matthews Cathedral and Socialist teacher George Clifton Edwards actively campaign for a state law abolishing child labor.

n.d.: Oak Cliff voters approve annexation to Dallas.

n.d.: State Legislature bans betting on horse racing. Developers offer $125,000 cash for fairgrounds; offered refused. Instead, a proposition is made to sell the fairgrounds to the City of Dallas.

January: The New Century Cotton Mill, offering employment to African-Americans only, is opened in North Dallas.


n.d.: Oak Cliff annexed to Dallas.

March: Eight-story Wilson Building completed.

April 5: Voters approve the "Reardon Plan," which proposes that the City of Dallas purchase the fairgrounds from the state fair association, for use as a year-round park.

June 24: Dallas Auto Club formed in Henry Garrett's garage.

October 11: Fair Park is "born" when the fairgrounds are officially acquired at a cost of $125,000. City limits are extended to include the park.

October: State Fair association holds a "Texas Grand Festival and Kaliph's Celebration" in place of the annual State Fair.


n.d.: Exclusive residential area Munger Place opens.

n.d.: State legislature repeals anti-betting act.

January 27: Groundbreaking ceremonies for new steel and concrete Exposition Building constructed for $90,000.the Dallas State Fair site in East Dallas.

Feb. 7: Socialist Party leader Eugene V. Debs delivers a lecture at the Bush Temple of Music.

April 5: Theodore Roosevelt becomes first U.S. President to visit Dallas; gives speech at Oriental Hotel, where a banquet is held in his honor.

May 23-24: Joint reunion of the National Association of Veterans of the Mexican War and the Texas State Association held in Dallas.

July 11: The Theatorium, the first moving picture theater in Dallas, is opened on Elm Street by William McIlheran; price of admission, five cents. The name of the racially segregated venue is later changed to The Dixie.

August: Four or five more moving picture theaters open, providing the Theatorium with competition.

Fall: Barney Oldfield participates in auto races during the State Fair.


March 26: Actress Sarah Bernhardt performs in "Camille" at Cycle Park (site of future State Fair Music Hall).

May: Texas Association of Veterans of the Mexican War hold joint reunion in Dallas with the Dames of 1846.

Fall: Dallas teacher George Clifton Edwards runs for Governor of Texas on the Socialist ticket.

Oct. 16: After much debate, Socialist teacher George Clifton Edwards, elected to represent the Seventh Ward, is allowed to take his seat on the Dallas charter commission.

Fall: City adopts commission form of government.


n.d: New suburb of Highland Park created.

n.d.: Rev. George W. Owens of Oak Cliff leads campaign to have Socialist teacher George Clifton Edwards fired. School Board refuses, saying there is no Socialism in algebra or Latin.

March 4: The Citizens' Association, a group of Dallas businessmen who come to dominate city politics for decades, is formed at the Commercial Club.

May: Texas Association of Veterans of the Mexican War hold joint reunion in Dallas with the Dames of 1846.

May 1: Socialist labor leader "Mother" Jones speaks at W.O.W. hall in South Dallas, adjacent to Dallas Cotton Mill, and also at City Hall auditorium in the evening.

Aug. 15: Dallas Cotton Mill weavers stage a walk-out, refusing to work with non-union loom fixers.

Aug. 20: 175 Dallas Cotton Mill operatives, mostly women and girls, go on strike to force mill owners to recognize their union, Local No. 547 of the United Textile Workers of America. The strike is ultimately unsuccessful.

Aug. 25: "Scab" Western Union telegraph messenger boys are threatened and attacked by striking messengers.

Fall: Socialist teacher George Clifton Edwards convinces Dallas school superintendent J. L. Long to begin night classes at the Dallas High School for anyone who wants to learn how to read and write, in addition to night school in mill district.


n.d.: Rev. George W. Owens of Oak Cliff leads successful campaign to replace existing school board members with people who agreed with him so that he could have Socialist teacher George Clifton Edwards fired. After Edwards is let go from his job, he becomes a lawyer, championing the rights of African-Americans, the poor, laboring people, and other then-unpopular causes.

n.d.: At the fairgrounds, a steel grandstand is built to replace old wooden racetrack grandstand. Textile and Fine Arts Building constructed. New Agricultural Building constructed.

Spring: At Fair Park, work begins on new Grand Entrance gates designed by James Flanders.

April-May: One of the worst floods in Dallas history causes over $1 million property damage and forces 4,000 people from their homes; some six or seven people are drowned.

July: Elks' annual convention held in Dallas. Elks Arch erected on Main Street.

Fall: First auto show held during State Fair.

October: American Federation of Labor Founder and President Samuel Gompers speaks at Fair Park auditorium.


n.d.: The fifteen-story Praetorian Building, Dallas' first steel-girder skyscraper, is completed.

n.d.: T. P. Finnegan opens "an airdome for the exhibiition of motion pictures in Oak Cliff at the corner of Ninth and Lancaster." Later, Finnegan opens The Park Airdome on Ervay Street, across from City Park; price of admission is ten cents.

Oct. 16: At Fair Park, Dallas Morning News Alamo replica is dedicated.

Oct. 18: Aeronaut Frank Goodale makes a flight in a Strobel dirigible from the racetrack infield at Fair Park, covering 5 miles and reaching an altitude of as much as 200 feet.

Oct. 23: At Fair Park, President William Howard Taft delivers a speech at the racetrack grandstand. He is afterward feted at a banquet at the Oriental Hotel. On same day county clerk Louis Reichenstein is killed by National Guardsman J. D. Manley as he tries to cross Parry Avenue prior to the President's arrival at the fairgrounds.

Oct. 26: Comanche Indian Chief Quanah Parker delivers an address in the convention tent on "Quanah Route Day."

Oct. 28: Motorcycle racer Eugene J. Marsh is killed in accident at Fair Park racetrack.

December: Socialist lawyer George Clifton Edwards takes over publication of The Laborer, the official organ of the the Dallas Trades Assembly. In its pages Edwards champions a number of social issues that are adopted in 1912 by former President Theodore Roosevelt's Progressive Party.

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