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Non Sequitur: A little Dallas History August 30, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Dallas Diocese, demographics, fun, history, non squitur, silliness, Society, technology.

This post is more for the locals.  In the summer of 1991, my parents and I moved from central Plano, near US75, to what was then far west/northwest Plano.  This was well before Dallas North Tollway had been expanded north of Keller Springs Rd.  It was just a two lane blacktop.

There was our brand-new subdivision, and nothing else for miles.  You could see the brand-new EDS headquarters about 3 miles north, but that was it.  It was prairie and cows.  There was a large ranch just to the east (still there, soon to become a large nature preserve).  A lot of wildflowers. Our house was the fifth to be built in this new subdivision and the 2nd to be occupied. Literally across the street would be some black angus grazing. For a couple of years, it felt like country living.

It’s been almost completely built up around there for years, now.  Which just goes to show how fast the Dallas area continues to grow.

For a little more historical evidence of that, some photos from DFWFreeways.com, showing the old and the new.

Back in the mid-50s, Dallas pretty much stopped at Northwest Highway.  Even much of the land along Northwest Highway was quite country.  Lovers Lane was still used as its name suggests, at least the eastern part was.  The photo below shows the newly completed Central Expressway looking north from Walnut Hill towards Northwest Highway.  There was a Ford Tractor dealership just out of frame to the lower left.  As you can tell, this area was still completely undeveloped.  Within 10 years, however, it would be almost completely built up, making room for hundreds of thousands of new residents:


US75/Central Expressway looking north at the Northwest Highway interchange.  Nice traffic level!


Northwest Highway and US75/Central Expressway as it appeared 11 years ago, in 2005 (looking from the opposite direction as the first photo above, but covering the same stretch of road). 50 years makes quite a difference.  That is the world’s first mall, Northpark, at right.  It is still one of the most successful malls in the world:


Incomplete Central Expressway in tiny, sleepy Plano in 1955.  The town population was about 2000 but was poised for explosive growth.  By 1970 the population was 17,000, and 1980, 72,000.


Perhaps the most amazing comparo of all, Preston Road at Valley View, which would become LBJ freeway, in 1958.  The more modern scene is shown below:


Man there was just whole bunch of nothin’ out there in 1959!  Looks like Phillipsburg.

By 1970, however, Dallas had expanded to fill in virtually all of the northern territory up to LBJ freeway.  Richardson was almost built out, and Plano was starting the growth that would make it the fastest growing city in the US in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s.  It, too, in turn has become built out.  And the slow process of decay begins.

Irving had enjoyed that explosive growth in the 50s and 60s.  A little closer to home for me today, a then 2 lane SH183 at Britain Rd in Irving in 1954:


Lots of interesting stuff on this site.  It’s one reason you haven’t had much from me today.  It’s worth checking out.


1. RC - August 30, 2016

I live in Frisco and everyone knows this city is growing like crazy. It wont be long (10 years?) Until McKinney runs into Sherman/Dennison. McKinney has a built-out population of around 400,000 I believe. Eventually you’ll have to live in Durant to get “country” living.

Tantumblogo - August 30, 2016

Heck 15 years ago I had a discussion with a guy about whether development would stop at Red River or not. Probably not.

2. skeinster - August 30, 2016

Mr. Texas informed me at breakfast the other day that something like 5 of the Dallas suburbs- suburbs, mind you- are among the top 20 largest cities in Texas.
This is crazy-pants.
We’ve lived in ours almost forty years and it is just TOO BIG.

Tantumblogo - August 30, 2016

I’m sure that includes Arlington, Plano, Garland, Irving, and…….McKinney? Frisco?

Yeah. I see sooo many out of state plates every day driving to work. And not from places I’m real happy to see migrating here – Maryland, Washington, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, etc. Will they bring the same failed beliefs that made finding a job in their home state all but impossible?

skeinster - August 31, 2016

Yes- Garland, Carrollton, Frisco, Plano, McKinney.

You’re too young to remember the boom of the ’70’s when everyone sent their corporate offices to DFW.

The transplants were NOT pleased:

“There aren’t any good delis.”
“Old men open their door and spit on the street at stop lights!”
“Dr. Pepper? WTH?”
“Why can’t you people drive on ice?”

good times…

Ellis County - August 31, 2016

How about “I can’t believe I have to put my child on a waiting list to get them into Catholics school !” (So many fewer Catholics and Catholic schools here).

Also the local bumper sticker — “Heart (love) NY ? Take I-35 North”

Actually I came here with “transplant” parents in 1966 when I was three. They did grow up in a much more Catholic part of the country (northern midwest).

Unfortunately we have experienced some growth in the southern part of the metroplex as well. I hope it never goes “Plano” (don’t anyone take that personally). Disgusting to see the fields turn into subdivisions and not to know everyone in town anymore. I think people come down here partly because the north (meaning north of Dallas) is so full…

Tantumblogo - August 31, 2016

The southern part is nice. 30 minutes south of downtown you’re pretty well rural, whereas 30 minutes north is just more sprawl. Waah.

I grew up in Plano. No offense taken. Quite the contrary, I know exactly what you mean.

Tantumblogo - August 31, 2016

My parents came in ’69 but that was from Tulsa. A halfway house between Kansas and God’s country.

3. MFG - August 31, 2016

My first trip to Dallas was in ’86 and I remember Plano being a patchwork of fields and subdivisions. Kind of sad all this new growth removed the semi-rural feeling that still existed even in the mid 80s. Imagine living in the Park Cities in the 1950s and only being a few miles from wilderness.

Thanks for posting these. I’m always captured by North Texas’ square green fields. It some how touches the soul yet it’s fast disappearing.

4. David - August 31, 2016

I relocated to DFW the first time in August 1994. I didn’t want to return to Houston, particularly because the defense budget crashed and I wasn’t interested in working at a chemical plant. I lived in the mid cities close to the airport. In 1994, Coppell was just getting started – I remember visiting a camp out there and riding horses. I remember Southlake and Keller still being country before becoming upper middle class suburbs. Where did the time go?

5. skeinster - August 31, 2016

My folks moved us to Austin in ’61 when it had two main things- state government and the University.

This was before it acquired its reputation for weirdness- I blame the hippies- and became the self-involved hipster paradise and sanctuary city it is today.

I would pretty much never go there, but for family.

My favorite big Texas city is Fort Worth, hands down.

Tantumblogo - August 31, 2016

I think, to a very large extent, Austin lives on the reputation of a city that no longer exists, and hasn’t existed in 25 to 30 years, at least. When my sister started at UT, Austin’s population was 250,000. When I left in ’94, it was about 400,000. Now, it’s nearing 1 million and apparently everything from Lake Travis to 360 is nothing but houses, houses, and more houses. Most all that Hill Country charm, then, has been paved over, and the percentage of real hippies to just regular people living there grows lower and lower every year. There are slightly weirdish parts of Austin today, but they are almost all near the university or downtown, where most people never go.

To me, today, Austin is Dallas with worse traffic and worse restaurants. Excepting maybe a couple of bbq joints I haven’t tried.

Sally Box - September 1, 2016

I agree, the hippies started it 50 years ago, but the urban hipsters and green hipsters have taken over.

Or maybe I should just stay out of the bring-your-own-containers grocery, the yarn store and H-P Books mother ship… ; )

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