Early immigration into North Texas, during the days of the Republic and following the devastation of the Civil War, was largely from the Southern states. In the 1930s, the oil fields near Tyler, east of Dallas, proved to be the richest ever found in the US. In addition to oil, agriculture has become a prime source of commerce, with logging important further east. The grand exception is, of course, the Metroplex – the sprawling urban area that includes Dallas and Fort Worth. The main tourist attractions and cultural life of the region are concentrated here, but if you want to explore small-town America, and you have a car, the region can yield more subtle pleasures in towns like Denton and McKinney.Read More
Contrary to popular belief, there’s no oil in status-conscious DALLAS. Since its founding in 1841 as a prairie trading post, by Tennessee lawyer John Neely Bryan and his Arkansas friend Joe Dallas, successive generations of entrepreneurs have amassed wealth here through trade and finance, using first cattle and later oil reserves as collateral. The power of money in Dallas was demonstrated in the late 1950s, when its financiers threw their weight behind integration – potentially racist restaurant owners and bus drivers were pressured not to resist the new policies and Dallas was spared major upheavals. The city’s image, however, was tarnished by the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963 and it took the building of the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in the 1960s, and the twin successes of the Dallas TV show and the Cowboys football team in the 1970s, to restore confidence. These days, its occasional stuffiness (George W. Bush moved here, to 10141 Daria Place, after vacating the White House) is tempered by a typically Texas delight in self-parody – this is, after all, the city that calls itself “Big D”.
Often dismissed as some kind of poor relation to Dallas, friendly FORT WORTH in fact has a buzz largely missing from its neighbour 35 miles to the east. Fort Worth has a distinctly Western character and history. In the 1870s, it was a stop on the great cattle drive to Kansas, the Chisholm Trail, and when the railroads arrived it became a livestock market in its own right. Cowboys and outlaws populated the city in its early years and much of that character remains. But while the cattle trade is still a major industry and the Stockyards provide a stimulating, atmospheric slice of Old West life, Fort Worth also prides itself on excellent museums – the best in the state – and a compact, bustling and walker-friendly downtown. Looking toward the future, the city is also undertaking the massive Trinity River Master Plan, which will include one of the largest urban parks in the US, and trails and greenways along the Trinity River.