The Big D

2008.Jan.17 Thursday · 0 comments

in Life

 Native Americans inhabited the area that is now Dallas before it was claimed as part of the Province of New Spain by the Spanish in the 1500’s. In 1821, Mexico declared independence from Spain and New Spain became part of Mexico. Texas became the independent country, The Republic of Texas, in 1836 after the Texas Revolution. Texas became a U.S. State in 1845. The city of Dallas was founded by John Neely Bryan in 1841. At that time it was part of the Independent country, the Republic of Texas. There is some dispute as to how Dallas acquired its name, but it was referred to as Dallas as early as 1843.”


Dallas Farmer’s Market

Dallas – I had time for one more quick morning of sightseeing before plunging into our week’s program – more about which down the line… I decided to start off with a visit to the famed Dallas Farmer’s Market. Now, I wasn’t expecting anything major – it is midwinter after all, plus being a Wednesday morning – though I did kind of think there might be more than there was. The market consists, for the public, of four large drive-in sheds – this is truly car country – it’s not really laid out to wander around, you drive up to a stand and load up… and yes, I did see a couple of people who proceeded to move their car from one stand to another to continue shopping – only one of which was actually open yesterday morning. The two sides of the she were about 2/3 lined with various farm stands, each of which was pretty much offering the identical produce, just arranged differently. Pineapples seemed to be most prevalent… I guess I’d never thought of this area in terms of pineapple production… lots of cucumbers, peppers (not many hot types, mostly just bell peppers and other mild peppers), green beans, eggplants galore. Every time I got near to a stand I began to get a sales pitch – there was an air of near desperation for customers (I think there were only three other people there during the 20 minutes or so I was wandering around).

Dallas City Hall

From the market, I headed across to the interestingly cantilevered City Hall, which is in a strangely out of the way spot several blocks away from the downtown financial district, in the midst of a sort of back, industrial area. However, from the plaza in front of it suddenly the whole neigbhorhood changes, leading to the public library, and then off to the side the Dallas Convention Center complex…

Pioneer Cemetery

…strangely, to me anyway, the front lawn of the Convention Center is a cemetery… an odd sort of approach, no? The Pioneer Cemetery is apparently where some of the big names of the early history of Dallas are interred.

Railway building

Railway building detail

I ran across this building as I re-entered the downtown area – one of the major railway companies that at one time ran through Dallas – the Missouri Kansas & Texas Railway Co. of Texas. I loved the detail on it…

From there, I returned to the Old Red Courthouse and entered the Old Red Museum – Dallas County’s historical museum. I have to admit to knowing little of the history of the city – bits and pieces were there in my memory, but most of the stuff was new to me – I didn’t know that nearly the entire city burned to the ground only a couple of decades after its founding and had to be rebuilt entirely. I didn’t know that local businessmen paid the railways to come through and turn it into a junction, a destination, over any other city in Texas. There was lots to see and learn, and the museum is well laid out. The one part that I found a little off-putting is the perspective in the initial part of the exhibits that consider everything prior to John Neely Bryan’s arrival in 1841 as “pre-history”. Not so much because of the pre-history thing, I understand they’re presenting the history of the city, not of the region, but it includes references to things like “the indians were an uncomfortable reality”, and never mentions the Mexican or Spanish influences – if you don’t look carefully you’d think that Dallas was created in an area where nothing had existed before. Even as you move on through the exhibits, the focus seems to be on the black and white populations, the native American and latino populations get scant mention.

On to food…


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