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D in the Heart of Texas             

Jerry T. Dealey

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Some Wheeling-Dealing to Grow a City

Early History of Texas
The Europeans and American Settlers
John Neely Bryan – And Other Early Founders
Some Wheeling-Dealing to Grow a City
George Bannerman Dealey
The Dallas Morning News is Born
The Great 1908 Flood
G. B. Promotes Other Early Dallas Growth
The "City of Hate"
Building the ‘Subway’, Triple Underpass, Dealey Plaza
The Other Buildings Around Dealey Plaza
The Elder G. B. Dealey
The Dallas "Citizens Council"
The ‘Right Wing’ Direction of Dallas - "City of Hate" Revisited
A ‘Turn-Around’ for the Dallas Morning News
The Pre-November ‘Hate’ Incidents
Dallas’ Law Enforcement
November 1963, Why Dallas?
Dealey Plaza Changes To-Date

Obviously, John Neely Bryan, and later, the Cockrells, had done anything necessary to build Dallas into the business crossroads it would some day become. They traded and gave away lots, promoted their town shamelessly, and begged, cajoled and influenced settlers in any way that they could, to promote growth in the region. The later City Elders, who would initiate what many would consider ‘dirty deals’, continued this attitude. This control of city growth by entrepreneurs and Dallas businessmen would later result in the Dallas Citizen’s Council and help mold the attitudes and politics of Dallas up to the current day.

In 1871, the Houston and Central Texas railroad was planning on building a major railroad from the southern gulf, north through Texas. They planned on routing the railroad through Corsicana, which would be on a line about 18-20 miles east of the small town of Dallas. The Dallas leaders decided to find some way to bribe the railroad to go through Dallas, and contacted the railroad. The railroad asked for what it considered a prohibitive amount, and then were surprised when they actually got it. The Dallas leaders arranged $5,000 cash, and about 115 acres of land through the area!

Another of these dirty deals helped Dallas leaders to also get the East – West railroads through their ‘city’. Around 1873, the leaders of Dallas heard that the Texas & Pacific Railroad would be building through the heart of Texas.

However, rumor had it that the railroad would be built crossing Texas along the 32nd parallel. This would run it about 3 miles south of Corsicana (again), which is about 50 miles south of Dallas! They contacted the T&P, who were not interested in any land or money it was offered to route the track 50 miles off course to intersect Dallas.
Dallas therefore got their local Texas State Legislator to place an inconspicuous rider on another popular bill, which would require the east-west railroad to pass within “one mile” of a place called Browder Springs. Even if someone had noticed the rider, the railroads in those days were constantly needing water (they were steam powered after all), so the requirement that it pass by a springs was not very unusual. The legislation went through relatively unnoticed, as written, which put a requirement on the railroad that was now the ‘law of the land’.
As it turns out, Browder Springs happened to be the source of the Dallas water supply! (Imagine that.) It was located about 3/10th of a mile south of Main Street, in the area that is now “Old City Park”. (The springs dried up in the early 1900’s.) To say the least, the railroad was quite upset when it learned about the rider. They were quite annoyed with having to lay the tracks 50 miles north of where they were intending to go; however, it now being state law, they had no choice.

With these 2 deals, Dallas had positioned itself as the railroads crossroads of Texas. Plus it benefited with the telegraph that came with the railroads. The town had 3,000 people in 1870, and during the next decade they would more than triple in population, to over 10,385 in 1880.

This type of ‘dirty dealing’ had paid off, and as we will see…it will be used repeatedly in the future as well.

IE150-1.GIF - 6031 BytesD in the Heart of Texas - Table of Contents
03LEFT.JPG - 1910 Bytes John Neely Bryan - And Other Early Founders (Part 3)
03RIGHT.JPG - 1880 Bytes George Bannerman Dealey

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Last edited June 3, 2003