Mesquite, TX and Its History
It’s usually difficult to get the entire history of a place without finding some interesting facts you’ve never known. As there are thousands or millions of people whose lives are happening all at once in one given area, creating one clear story about it is nearly impossible. For those living in, or visiting the city of Mesquite, TX, the history goes back centuries ago. Now a suburb just east of Dallas, and the state’s 20th most populous city, let’s look at a few things that made the city what it is today.
Before settlers migrated into Texas and claimed the land, the area where Mesquite is now located was originally an open prairie land and trading ground for indigenous peoples. Some of the tribes that made up this area included the Ionies, Tawakonies, and the Caddo. Throughout much of the 1700’s, the three tribes were known to hold annual tournaments and trading fairs. Many artifacts from this time are held in collections in the Gregg County Historical Museum in Lakeview.
Settlers’ Migration and the Founding of Mesquite, TX
Once settlers arrived and claimed the land, the city was officially founded in 1878 along the Texas & Pacific Railroad. The name derived from its proximity to the Mesquite Creek. At first, roughly only 135 people occupied the town, as there was only one road that came in and went out of the town. This made the place good for trading, but did nothing for expansion. While the population was fairly sparse in its initial years, it increased following World War II as suburbs began popping up around the U.S. near more populated cities, and continued to expand.
Mesquite’s Biggest Moments
Some interesting historical and social factors that shaped Mesquite include both outlaws and air conditioning. It was known in the 1800’s that a handful of outlaws were living and moving about the area in eastern Texas. One of the more popular encounters was with outlaw, Sam Bass, who, in the year Mesquite was founded, managed to rob a train and escape with $30,000. Mesquite is also known for having the first air-conditioned mall in the country, called Big Town Mall, which opened in 1959 and remained open until 2006 when it was demolished.
The city now is located at the intersection of four major interstates and highways, making travel in and out of the city very easy, compared to its pre-World War II days. It is now known as the “Rodeo Capital of Texas,” and has been home to many modern-day celebrities, musicians, and athletes. Moving in an eco-friendly direction, the city of Mesquite has been named a Tree City USA for the past 25 years, which emphasizes the care of longstanding city trees. The city holds many parks and town centers, as well as history museums, and historically preserved homestead ranches, to show what life on the farms may have looked like when some of the earliest settlers began living on the land. The population continues to climb steadily, along with the city’s rich culture.
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