City of Grand Prairie Company History Timeline


The city of Grand Prairie was founded as Dechman, after the original founder, Alexander Dechman, who paid $200 in Confederate money for the land in 1863.

2, 1863, establishing what would become Grand Prairie.


The depression of 1873 halted construction of the railroad, but it didn’t stop people from settling in Dechman.


A post office opened in 1874 and two years later Dechman filed a town plat, giving every other lot to the Texas and Pacific Railroad in exchange for operating a depot there.


Service began on the railroad in 1876 and the next year the town was renamed Grand Prairie by the railroad because of the town’s location on, “the eastern edge of the vast grand prairie that stretched into West Texas.”


In 1877, the railroad renamed Dechman Grand Prairie because of its location on the eastern edge of the vast grand prairie that stretched into West Texas.


The trip became easier in July 1902 when Interurban trolley service began between Fort Worth and Dallas.

Another big happening in 1902 was the establishment of the Grand Prairie Independent School District.


Bucket brigades were used to fight most fires, including a 1903 blaze that destroyed a grocery store, saddle shop and doctor’s office.


The first school bonds were issued on July 1, 1905, and totaled $8,000.


The first vote for incorporation was on March 14, 1908, and failed by 57 against and 51 for.


A bucket brigade was of little use on March 26, 1909, when a fire started in the train depot and destroyed an entire business block.

By the time the town voted for incorporation in 1909, the Grand Prairie Independent School District had been established, and the downtown district was thriving, with a drugstore, cotton gin, grocery stores, a hotel, post office and more.


In 1910, Doctor Horace V. Copeland, who helped deliver more than 4,000 babies in his 60-year career, bought the first automobile in Dallas County.


In 1911, Grand Prairie High School graduated its first senior class, which consisted of only four students.


The Spikes Brothers Broom Factory moved there from Dallas in 1912 and the Dalworth Business College opened in what is now the historic Anderson Building.


Grand Prairie was victim to several damaging fires in its early years and an organized fire department opened in 1917.


The first water system was installed in 1918.

Grand Prairie installed its first water system in 1918.


In 1920, the newly formed Fire Department bought its first automobile fire engine, all previous engines having been drawn by horse.


31, 1926, Grand Prairie celebrated the completion of one of the most extensive paving programs ever taken on by a city its size.


Dewey Millar opened Millar Drug Store, now Main Street Café, in 1927 at 106 W. Main St, selling ice cream and sodas at the fountain and medications at the counter.


In 1928, the famous Bagdad Supper Club was built in east Grand Prairie.


In 1929, the Curtiss-Wright Flying Service opened near Dalworth, marking the beginning of what would become Grand Prairie’s rich history of aviation.


21, 1931, City Council voted to allocate funds to purchase shoes, clothes, fruit, food and candy for the needy children in town to have gifts to open on Christmas morning.

In 1931, Ray Hamilton and Clyde Barrow robbed the Interurban ticket office in downtown Grand Prairie.


In 1934, The News reported that the gang that robbed the Grand Prairie State Bank of $1,543.74 on March 19, was the infamous Clyde Barrow-Raymond Hamilton gang, with the driver of the escape car identified as Hamilton himself.

Then on March 19, 1934, the Grand Prairie State Bank was robbed by Ray Hamilton, his brother Floyd and John Basden getting away with $1,543.


In August of 1940, the site of the future $7 million warplane factory brought hundreds of visitors to Grand Prairie.

The News reported in 1940 that “Expansion is due from influx airplane plant to bring.” The arrival of the North American Aviation, Inc. factory was highly anticipated.


In March of 1941, The News reported there were approximately 100 enlisted men of the United States Navy on duty at Hensley field, with more on their way.


In 1942, Dalworth Park dissolved its incorporation and was annexed into the city of Grand Prairie.


In 1944, the city built a new one-story city hall designed by architect E. Carlyle Smith.


In 1945, the city appointed J.C. Swadley its first paid fireman at a salary of $175 per month.


The exotic palace offered entertainment, dining, dancing and music and was featured in the 1947 comedy Juke Joint, starring Spencer Williams.


In 1949, the city opened its first fire station at 321 W. Main St, where it still operates today.


The historic Uptown Theater opened in March of 1950 as an unsegregated theater, “years before other theaters followed suit.” The theater sat 1,100 and is still around today as a “fully restored 1950s theater and performing arts center.”


In 1957, the Dallas-Fort Worth Turnpike opened, reducing the amount of cars that drove through downtown Grand Prairie everyday by 8,000.


In 1959, the Florence Hill School District consolidated into the Grand Prairie Independent School District, adding 600 pupils and 25 square miles of land into the GPISD.


Annexation resulted in growth, for 1962 marked Grand Prairie’s greatest single year record in construction growth in its history, with almost $12 million in building permits issued.


South Grand Prairie High School was built in 1969 with an enrollment of 448 students versus today’s 3,381.


In 1972, City Hall received its first computer, which was purchased to handle the city’s water bill accounts and cost $2,000 a month.


Traders Village, a 106-acre flea market, was founded in 1973 and is still in existence today.


And the Mountain Creek Bridge opened in 1979, 23 years after the lake was built.


In 1983, The News published a story celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the Village.


In 1984, Grand Prairie’s own Charley Taylor was inducted into the National Football Hall of Fame.


The Westchester neighborhood celebrated its grand opening in 1985, heralded as one of the finest residential developments in southwest Dallas County.


Growth also came with the development of Joe Pool Lake, which was filled and completed in 1989.


In 1992, citizens passed a half cent sales tax to be used to build Lone Star Park, a class one horse racetrack.


The city’s premier golf course Tangle Ridge, opened in 1995, said to “forever change the face of public golf” in DFW by golf writer Matt McKay.


The year 1997 was big for economic development with 23 new companies opening, including the first major retail in 10 years with Towne Crossing Center, featuring Home Depot and Target.


In 2000, the first housing development broke ground on the Estes Peninsula and the city acquired the lake parks on Lake Joe Pool.


In 2001, voters approved a 1/4 cent sales tax for street improvements, and the city opened Fire Station No.


In 2002, the city opened the Ruthe Jackson Center and a plethora of new parks financed by the 1/4 cent sales tax for parks: Splash Factory, Mountain Creek Soccer center, Charley Taylor baseball fields, McFalls softball fields and Parkhill Park football fields.


In 2004, Lone Star Park hosted the 21st running of the Breeders Cup World Thoroughbred Championship and the city opened the Grand Prairie Memorial Gardens.


The city completed the Veteran’s Memorial in 2005, opened the largest putting green in Texas at Prairie Lakes and built a new home every 4 hours, which led to being named a fastest growing city in the nation.


In 2006, the Bowles Life Center and Bear Creek South Park opened; the city purchased the Uptown Theater to renovate the former movie house into a performing arts venue; and landed the Lake Prairie Towne Crossing with Super Target and Home Depot on Camp Wisdom.


In 2007 the city paid off Lone Star Park 18 years early and voters approved continuing the half cent sales tax to build a new public safety headquarters, active adult center and minor league baseball stadium.


The year 2008 also marked the opening of the restored Uptown Theater to rave reviews, and the city was named a “Best Place to Live” by Money Magazine, a Playful City USA by Kaboom, and won the National Recreation and Parks Association Gold Medal Award for best parks in the nation.

The AirHogs minor league baseball team played their inaugural season in 2008, winning the American Association Southern Division Championship.


© 2016 Grand Prairie Historical Organization All Rights Reserved | The Grand Prairie Historical Organization is a 501c3 non-profit.


(Co.Rd. # 2017) (Lake Joe Pool Area)


The new officers, who will begin serving their term on January 1, 2021, are:

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