If you are moving to Richardson, it is great to know the history of Richardson, TX, and understand how the city came to be.
Richardson’s beginnings go far back to the 1840s when settlers from Tennessee and Kentucky came to the area. It officially became Richardson in 1873. It got its name after Alfred S. Richardson, the then secretary of the Houston & Texas Central Railroad. Since then, the city has evolved into one of the booming cities today. Today, people call it the Telecom Corridor.
The history of Richardson is an interesting find that many movers should know. From its humble beginnings, Richardson has become one of the best cities to live in Texas today. Knowing the history of the place will make you understand why its influence is as great as today. To know more, read on.
History of Richardson TX: Before the Charter
The original inhabitants of the Richardson, Texas area were the Caddo and Comanche Indian tribes. But in the 1840s, early settlers from Tennessee and Kentucky came. They built settlements in the area, which is now Breckinridge. This area is also close to where the present-day Richland College is today.
The early town only had a general store, The Floyd Inn, a blacksmith shop, and the early activities center. After the civil war, a railroad opened in the northwest of Breckinridge. With this, the central area of activity shifted close to the railroad. It was challenging to set-up the new site, but William J. Wheeler donated the new town’s land. The people wanted to name it after him, but Wheeler declined. Its name became Richardson, after Alfred S. Richardson, the Houston & Texas Central Railroad secretary.
History of Richardson: After the Charter
1870s to 1910s
Richardson got its charter in 1873. It is located in between Phillips street, Greer street, Central Expressway, and Greenville Avenue. However, a small portion of the city lies on the west side of Central Expressway. By then, the area only had a general store, a drug store, and a post office.
By the early 1900s, the Richardson area experienced booming progress. The Texas Electric Railway, or Interurban, came in 1908. This connected Richardson to Denison, Waco, Corsicana, and Fort Worth. In 1910, there were only 600 people in the area. The people also experienced their first electric light, telephone, and gravel street.
People built a red brick schoolhouse in 1914. Today, this building houses the Richardson Independent School District administrative offices.
The 1920s were even more productive. The Red Brick Road, the present Greenville Avenue, opened in 1924, giving way to new opportunities for Richardson. The road’s opening brought more people vying to live in the area, increasing the properties’ value.
In 1925, Thomas F. McKamy became the first mayor of the town. In the same year, property values were at $515,292, and 15 businesses were operating in Richardson. The following year, the waterworks made way for indoor water for homes. The sewage treatment facility then came. The fire department composed of volunteers started operating. And the Texas Power and Light Company and Lone Star Gas handled the utilities.
1940s to 2000s
By 1940, the town population has increased to 740. This further increased after World War II, and by 1950, the population already reached 1300. With this population increase, services like emergency ambulances, recreational facilities, and police protection also opened.
In the 1950s – 1960s, many establishments and improvements came. Collins Radio established an office at Richardson, which started its electronic era. The Central Expressway also opened, which made way to shopping centers and more residential areas. The organization of the first Police Department happened, as well as the setting of a home rule charter.
There was also the implementation of the council/manager style of governance, which still permeates to this day. More establishments and parks like Prairie Creek Park and Cottonwood Park came. The population increased to 5,000. There was also the establishment of the Southwest Center for Advanced Studies. But Erik Johnsson and the other executives of Texas Instruments later donated it to the state. It later became the University of Texas at Dallas.
By the 1970s, the population has ballooned to around 56,000, and over 30,000 students enrolled at the Richardson Independent School District. By the 1980s, commercial development boomed with site plans exceeding 5 million square feet. The 1990s and 2000s showed steady growth in population with 99,223 in 2010.
From a town that originally had a few hundred people, Richardson city today boasts over 88,000 daily workers. Richardson, as a part of Dallas MEtroplex, is now one of the most convenient communities with open access to all directions through the DART rail system and other major roadways.
Credit rating agencies have also recognized the city for its strong fiscal management and economic stability. Richardson today is the Telecom Corridor with over 500 telecommunication companies calling it home like AT&T, Verizon, Samsung, and more.