A Guide to the History of Dallas, Texas

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Timelines of Events in Dallas History: 1950s


n.d.: Central Expressway opens.



June 21: Former General, Republican presidental candidate, and future President Dwight D. Eisenhower visits Dallas.

Sept. 1: White Rock Bathing Beach is open for the last time.

Fall: Democratic presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson speaks at State Fair.

Oct. 4: "Big Tex" debuts at State Fair. Senator and future U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson opens the Fair.


n.d.: R. L. Thornton, Sr. begins serving first of four terms as Mayor of Dallas.

Summer: Owing to a severe drought, swimming in White Rock Lake is banned. The ban eventually becomes permanent after the city embarks on a program of building smaller neighborhood pools.


n.d.: Drought continues.

n.d.: Dallas's first Republican congressman, Bruce Alger, is elected.


n.d.: New Dallas Public Library opens on site of old Carnegie Library.

June 10: Popular TV actors Fess Parker (Disney's "Davy Crockett") and Buddy Ebsen (Georgie Russell) make an appearance in Dallas; greeted by fans at Love Field, the Adolphus Hotel, and the Majestic Theater.

Fall: During the State Fair, African-American pickets protest fairgrounds segregation. Girl killed in Ferris Wheel accident and two others injured.


n.d.: University of Dallas opens.

Jan. 15: Last official run of a Dallas streetcar, from Oak Cliff to car barn at Elm and Peak streets. (Cars afterward cut up and sold for scrap metal.) Motor buses take over routes.

April 22: Black Civil Rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaks at Good Street Baptist Church.

Oct. 11: Elvis Presley performs in the Cotton Bowl.


n.d.: Dallas Memorial Auditorium opens.

n.d.: New Dallas-Fort Worth Turnpike (now I-30) opens.

April 2: Tornado hits Oak Cliff and Northwest Dallas, killing 9 people, injuring 170 and causing $1,500,000 property damage.

May: Former President Harry S. Truman visits Dallas.

June 18-22: Black Civil Rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. attends National Baptist Sunday School Union Congress at Memorial Auditorium; delivers keynote address on June 21.

September: Socialist lawyer George Clifton Edwards donates a portion of his large personal library to Southern Methodist University.

October 20: Motion picture actor and future President Ronald Reagan appears at State Fair.


April 14: City passes an ordinance forbidding boats with engines larger than 10 horsepower on White Rock Lake. "Bonnie Barge" forced to stop operating.

Nov. 21: Former President Harry S. Truman makes an unscheduled 3-hour stopover in Dallas after private airplane develops trouble.


n.d.: Dallas Theater Center, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, opens.

April 11-12: 42-story tall Southland Center, tallest building west of Mississippi River, opens with dedication ceremonies.

Oct. 9: Vice-President and future President Richard M. Nixon leads State Fair parade and helps open the Fair. Afterward, with wife Pat, he tours the grounds.

Oct. 16-17: Former President Harry S. Truman visits Dallas; makes speech at Memorial Auditorium (escorted to podium by Senator and future President Lyndon B. Johnson).

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