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In 1841, John Neely Bryan laid claim to this area and built a single log cabin. He envisioned a commerce center that capitalized on the expanse of land and its river. With the arrival of the railroad in the mid-1870s, Dallas became a thriving business town and market center. An influx of French, German, Swiss and English immigrants—highly skilled and cultured—gave Dallas a cosmopolitan air unmatched on the frontier.
Neiman Marcus was founded here in 1907, followed by a Federal Reserve Bank in 1914, Southern Methodist University in 1915 and Dallas Love Field Airport in 1927. "Dad" Joiner struck oil nearby on the East Texas Oil Field in 1930, and the Texas Centennial Exposition was held here in 1936. With DFW International Airport's opening in 1973, Bryan's dream of a major inland port was accomplished.
Dallas boasts more shopping centers per capita than any other U.S. city and is home to America's oldest shopping center, Highland Park Village. Other shopping centers include Galleria Dallas, NorthPark Center, West Village and Mockingbird Station. The Dallas Farmers Market, open daily in downtown, is one of the largest open-air markets in the country.
At least a dozen entertainment districts can be found near downtown, each offering its own mix of culture, shopping and dining: Dallas Arts District, Fair Park, Deep Ellum, Main Street, Greenville Avenue, Knox-Henderson, Uptown, West Village, West End, Oaklawn, Mockingbird Station and the Bishop Arts District. The Latino Cultural Center buzzes with multicultural activities and artistic endeavors.
In the fall, the State Fair draws more than 3 million visitors to experience livestock and horse competitions, Big Tex, Fletcher's famous corny dogs, big-name entertainers, college football matchups and a huge midway with the Texas Star Ferris wheel, the tallest in the northern hemisphere.
Six professional sports teams make their homes in the Dallas area: The Dallas Cowboys (NFL), Dallas Mavericks (NBA), Dallas Stars (NHL), Dallas Desperados (AFL), FC Dallas (MLS) and Texas Rangers (MLB).
The Dallas Area Rapid Transit System and the Trinity River Express commuter line provide service to the area. www.dart.org.
Dallas City Parks and Recreation Department offers year-round indoor and outdoor activities at many facilities and parks. 214/670-4100.