A History of the Downtown
The center of Dallas had two distinct beginnings: in the mid-twentieth century as a railroad hub, and more recently as a planned retail destination with a high density of offices, hotels, restaurants and shops. Then came the 1980s, and the 1990s, and the Downtown began its own period of rebirth. When the downtown began to boom, it did so in a fashion unlike most other major cities in the United States. When it became a popular shopping and entertainment destination, it did so in a way that has not been done before. Today, the Downtown boasts the best collection of restaurants, shopping and entertainment.
In Downtown Dallas, we are reminded that there is a difference between the city and its core. The city is the place where the people are, while the core is the place where the people live. These two places have different histories and different characteristics.
The city of Dallas began in 1895. In the 1930s, Dallas grew from the mid-west’s sixth largest city to the nation’s eighth largest. At the turn of the century, the downtown was a mecca where people congregated, had fun. In addition to performing and entertainment, the city had two large hotels, the GrandDallas Hotel and the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. During the 1930s to 1950s, as Dallas grew, the downtown underwent a period of expansion and change. In the 1930s and ’40s, the new city became a popular venue for Dallas Cowboys and North Texas Rangers. They would spend time at the Cotton Bowl, in the city’s original location.
While Dallas was becoming Texas’ first major manufacturing and industrial center, the downtown began a growth period that would last until the mid-twentieth century. In the 1930s, the city was becoming a major entertainment and shopping center for the new nation. In the 1940s, the city had three major shopping and entertainment districts: Dallas Downtown Mall, the Dallas Arts District and the Dallas Galleria. In 1953, with Dallas still a small town in an expanding nation,