Western Trips

Western Trips

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Old Red Museum of Dallas Texas

old red museum dallas texas
The Old Red Museum
This article is about The Old Red Museum of Dallas which is located in downtown Dallas Texas. The museum is located in a beautifully restored building, built in 1892, that was the Dallas County Courthouse until 1966. Today, The Old Red Museum is an excellent addition to your Dallas Texas trip planner and a great place to learn how this city grew from one man's 1841 settlement to a major metropolitan area of the twenty-first century.

The Old Red Museum

The building is of red sandstone in a Richardsonian Romanesque style of architecture. The building was known locally as the Old Red Courthouse located at the southwest corner of Commerce and Houston Streets. The old courthouse is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Old Red Museum is on the first floor of the Old Red Courthouse and exhibits the evolution of Dallas. Four permanent exhibits detail the history of Dallas Texas.

The Children’s Education Center within the museum offers a hands on and interactive experience for kids, and the museum also rotates a series of special exhibits that celebrate unique aspects of Dallas art and history.

old dallas county courthouse
Richardsonian Romanesque Architecture
Founded During the Days of the Republic of Texas

Dallas Texas was founded in 1841. John Neely Bryan from Arkansas built a log cabin in 1841 near a river and called the settlement Dallas. The river is what today is the Trinity floodplain and had existing trails made by the Native American Caddo tribe. The place along the trinity River that Bryan established his outpost was known as the White Rock Crossing. The crossing was considered easy for wagons before ferry service and bridges were erected.

Bryan's settlement would become a trading post. Like some other early settlement, one person might serve several functions. In the case of John Neely Bryan, he served as Dallas' first postmaster, store owner and ferry boat operator. In 1844 a plan was laid out detailing several city blocks that would one day become downtown Dallas Texas.This was at the time of the Republic of Texas which would then be annexed by the United States in 1845 at the time of the Mexican-American War. Dallas would go on to be incorporated in 1851.

The story of how Dallas was named Dallas has a few versions. One version has it named from a naming contest in 1842. A second version says that it may have been named after an 1842 settler named Joseph Dallas. Another is that it was named after a friend of John Neely Bryan. Yet another version has the settlement named after a naval Commodore and yet another after a U.S. Secretary of the Treasury. It has never been concluded exactly which is the official or real version however one of them obviously is.

richardsonian romanesque architecture
Old Dallas County Texas Courthouse
Not a seaport like the Houston-Galveston area of Texas, Dallas grew from the oil and cotton industries as well as farming. The city grew even further because of the many rail lines that crossed it as well as the many Interstate Highways that eventually converge from every direction.

Modern Day Dallas

While Dallas grew because of cotton and oil, the city today is a top ten American city and is generally referred to as the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Fort Worth was established eight years after Dallas in 1849 as a military fort overlooking the Trinity River and was named after major General William Jenkins Worth. Fort Worth would become famous for it's stockyards and later for it's oil industry. Fort Worth was located along the famous Chisholm Trail that led from southern Texas up to the rail stops in Kansas. The Texas and Pacific Railway built into Fort Worth in 1876 and made the area a famous cattle town.

The real growth of Dallas was a result of World War Two when many defense related companies called Dallas home. One of these was Collins Radio. As the decades rolled one, telecommunications and other technology companies also sprung up which has continued to this day. As a result, Dallas Texas has built a very diverse business base and is one of the most growing metropolitan areas in the U.S.

Below are links to additional Western Trips photo articles about Dallas area sites you'll enjoy.

The Perot Museum of Nature and Science

Interurban Electric Railway Museum

dealey plaza dallas texas
Dealey Plaza and old Schoolbook Depository Bldg
Visiting The Old Red Museum

The Old Red Museum is located in the heart of downtown Dallas Texas. It is available for both individual and group tours and is currently open 9A-5P daily.

Because The Old red Museum is located in the heart of Dallas, there's several other interesting sites to see nearby.  The museum is adjacent to the JFK Memorial and Dealey Plaza, a National Historic Landmark District. It is also across the street from a replica of Dallas founder John Neely Bryan’s cabin and just a block south of The Sixth Floor Museum and the historic West End of Dallas. All of these sites are in easy walking distance to the others.

(Article and photos copyright 2013 Western Trips)

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