Garland History

Photo of Embree

As early as the mid-1800s, settlers began arriving in what is now Garland.  A letter dated April 9, 1937 opens with, “The planting of the seed that developed into Garland was planted on the banks of the Duck Creek...” Originally known as Duck Creek to early settlers, a fire and a poorly located post office created a rival community named Embree. Men began carrying guns where they hadn’t before, and young people were chastised for interacting with people from the opposite encampment. After a consultation with Congressman Joe Abbott, the two towns reached a compromise with a more fairly located post office and a new name: Garland. Augustus H. Garland was something of a hero in the Reconstruction South after he fought and won the right to serve as the Attorney General for President Grover Cleveland, a privilege previously withheld from anyone associated with the Confederacy.

Map of early Garland communities


Newman at power plant

In the early 1900s, as more urban areas began to acquirte electricity services, Garland leaders were dismayed to find that most privately owned utility enterprises were more concerned with profit than working with small communities. With a loan of a small generator from the Fairbanks-Morse Company, and with the understanding that profits would pay back the company, Garland started supplying electricity to its citizens on April 1, 1923, and Garland Power & Light was born. The World Wars, for all their destruction, were a boom for small and still primarily agricultural Garland. Companies like Luscombe rushed to build manufacturing facilities, bringing with them revenue and a growing population. Today, Garland is one of the largest manufacturing cities in the state of Texas with more than 300 manufacturers.

The latter part of the twentieth century solidified Garland’s place as a cultural center in North Texas. The Garland Landmark Society, dedicated to preserving and promoting Garland history, was formed in 1972 and still runs today. In 1983 the Garland Performing Arts Center, now known as the Granville Arts Center, made Garland the first Dallas suburb with its own arts center, home to the Garland Summer Musicals, Garland Civic Theatre and Garland Symphony Orchestra.

Older Photo of the Granville Arts Center with City Vehicles Only Parking Sign


In the 21st century Garland’s population growth has slowed as undeveloped land becomes more scarce and Garland approaches buildout.  According to the Census Bureau's 2015 American Community Survey, the City of Garland ranks 12th in population in Texas and 91st in the country with an estimated population of 237,000 people and is today a major manufacturing and industrial hub for the entire D/FW Metroplex. Garland is the third most populous city in Dallas County and enjoys convenient access to downtown Dallas via public transportation which includes two DART Blue Line stations. Located adjacent to northern and eastern Dallas, Garland is a culturally diverse city with a rich history and the community celebrates a vast array of shopping, arts, outdoor activities and special events.

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