While cities across the country crumble economically, Dallas will emerge as the nation’s strongest and most exciting city in 2009. In these gloomy times, while the country seems to have so little to cheer about, the nation will notice the great achievements and celebration taking place in Dallas.
Dallas’ growth and success has often surged when times looked bleakest. Since the 1890s, Dallas has surpassed stronger and larger cities. Dallas will be doing this again as the Winspear Opera House and the Wyly Theater open in the Arts District, as Trinity Park emerges and the 50-story, mile-long Santiago Calatrava-designed bridges begin to soar.
Dallas already has the nation’s largest number of corporate headquarters in the U.S. – and this is before the second downtown for Dallas is scheduled to emerge, a mixed-use development with 100-story skyscrapers and single-family, street level housing, located on the 60 acres on the west side of the Trinity.
Historically, Dallas has turned the toughest times to its advantage. In the Depression of 1892, John Armstrong began contemplating Highland Park, which he opened in 1906. In 1900, Main Street was paved with bois d’arc logs and the population was 42,000 people.
In 1910, Dallas was home to less than 100,000 people. By 1930, the city’s population was over a quarter of a million, at 250,000, when the entire country was mired in the Great Depression. In 1936, in the height of the Depression, Dallas became home to the Texas Centennial Exposition because of the lavish Art Deco exhibition buildings, Music Hall and Cotton Bowl that were constructed in Fair Park. By the 1950s, the population was approaching 500,000.
In the 1970s, when the national economy was both stalled and was suffering from inflation, Dallas had the foresight to build the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
The first commercial flight landed at the new DFW on January 13, 1974. The number of flights from DFW has increased ever since. In 2000 DFW was the world’s fifth busiest airport and remains a source of economic growth and employment in the area.
Now, while the nation is in a nosedive, Dallas is initiating and completing its biggest projects ever. The exhilaration created by the Arts District, Trinity River Park and surrounding development, and the Calatrava bridges will focus the national spotlight on Dallas and make the city a magnet for great people and growing companies. Dallas will not only emerge as one of the five largest cities in the next 15 years, but as a city inhabited by the most interesting, entrepreneurial and culturally savvy residents.