Located approximately 12 miles (19 km) east of downtown Fort Worth and 20 miles (32 km) west of downtown Dallas, Arlington is home to the Texas Rangers' Ballpark in Arlington and the theme parks Six Flags Over Texas, which is the original Six Flags, and Hurricane Harbor. The Dallas Cowboys' new stadium is under construction in Arlington. The city borders Kennedale, Grand Prairie, Mansfield and Fort Worth, and surrounds the smaller communities of Dalworthington Gardens and Pantego.
Arlington was founded in 1876 along the Texas and Pacific Railroad. The city was named after General Robert E. Lee's Arlington House (in present-day Arlington County, Virginia). Arlington grew as a cotton-ginning and farming center, and incorporated in 1884. The city could boast of water, electricity, natural gas, and telephone services by 1910, along with a public school system. By 1925 the population was estimated at 3,031, and it grew to over four thousand before World War II.
Large-scale industrialization began in 1954 with the arrival of a General Motors assembly plant. Automotive and aerospace development gave the city one of the nation's greatest population growth rates between 1950 and 1990. Arlington became one of the "boomburbs," the extremely fast-growing suburbs of the post-World War II era. U.S. Census Bureau population figures for the city tell the story: 7,692 (1950), 90,229 (1970), 261,721 (1990), and 359,467 (2004 estimate). Tom Vandergriff served as mayor from 1951 to 1977 during this period of explosive development. Six Flags Over Texas opened in Arlington in 1961, and in 1972 the Washington Senators baseball team relocated to Arlington and began play as the Texas Rangers.
In January of 1996, 9 year old Amber Hagerman went missing while riding her bike around her grandparent's neighborhood. She was found dead four days later, when a man discovered her while walking his dog. Her abduction and murder led to The AMBER Alert System.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 99.0 square miles (256.5 km²), of which, 95.8 square miles (248.2 km²) of it is land and 3.2 square miles (8.3 km²) of it (3.24%) is water.
There were 124,686 households out of which 38.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.6% were married couples living together, 11.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.8% were non-families. 24.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 3.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.65 and the average family size was 3.20.
In the city the population was spread out with 28.3% under the age of 18, 11.0% from 18 to 24, 35.7% from 25 to 44, 18.9% from 45 to 64, and 6.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 100.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $47,622, and the median income for a family was $56,080. Males had a median income of $38,612 versus $29,339 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,445. About 7.3% of families and 9.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.3% of those under age 18 and 6.4% of those age 65 or over. Average rents in Arlington in 2005 were $537 for a one bedroom apartment, and $701 for a two bedroom apartment.
Arlington is also known as the 50th largest city in the United States, by population and rank, even though being unheard in most of the country.
At the moment, Arlington is presided over by Mayor Robert Cluck after the long reign of former mayor Elzie Odom.
The University of Texas at Arlington is the third largest institution of the University of Texas System. The university has a current enrollment of 24,888 students as of Fall 2007, and is a valuable asset to the city of Arlington and its economy. Buildings within the academic core of the UT Arlington campus are among the oldest structures in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, including Preston Hall, Ransom Hall, College Hall, Brazos House, and the original Arlington High School.
The University of Texas at Arlington used to field a football team, but the program was canceled in 1985 due to funding issues and waning attendance. The football vacancy at the campus stadium, Maverick Stadium, was quickly filled by Arlington High and subsequently Bowie High School. Cravens Field, on the campus of Lamar, and Wilemon Field, on the campus of Sam Houston, are home to the other four teams in the city. Both have enjoyed a history of close and dramatic games.
High school teams in various other sports have state championships to their credit, including:
Several individual state titles have also been won by Arlington students including the following:
Arlington is the home of several notable athletes. 1998 American League Rookie of the Year Ben Grieve graduated from Martin High School in 1994. Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Vernon Wells grew up in Arlington and attended Bowie High School, Houston Astros outfielder Hunter Pence attended Arlington High School and played collegiate baseball at UTA, and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitcher John Lackey also played for UTA. Lamar High School alumnus Jeremy Wariner won two gold medals in the 2004 Athens Olympics, and the 2005 world championship in the 400 meters in Rome. UTA also produced Doug Russell, who won two gold medals in swimming at the Mexico City Olympics in 1968 and for whom a park on campus is named. Champion bodybuilder (Mr. Olympia 1998-2005) and former Arlington police officer, Ronnie Coleman resides in Arlington. Houston Comets Guard Erin Grant grew up in Arlington and attended Mansfield high school where she became the first high school basketball player to win four state championships. She currently holds the Big XII assist record. Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Mark Clayton graduated from Sam Houston High School in 2000 and was part of the University of Oklahoma's 2001 national championship team.
For retail shopping, Arlington is home to The Parks Mall at Arlington, which houses numerous retail outlets and a movie theatre. In addition, The Arlington Highlands was completed in mid-2007, serving as an entertainment hotspot with places such as Studio Movie Grill, Freebirds, Jamba Juice, and Conn's, among others. The Arlington Highlands is located on I-20 at Matlock Rd.
Arlington is also home to Theatre Arlington, one of the largest community theatres in the nation which produces quality live theatre year round and offers theater classes for all ages.
The professional wrestling organization, Professional Championship Wrestling, which had a short lived reality show on the TLC Network, is also based out of Arlington. It is located behind Six Flags Mall, and runs shows every Saturday night and one Friday night a month.
The city is served by two Interstate Highways, I-20, also known as Ronald Reagan Memorial Highway, and I-30, also named Tom Landry Memorial Highway. Other limited-access freeways include State Highway 360, which is named for the founder of Six Flags Over Texas, Angus G. Wynne, running along the eastern border, and U.S. Highway 287, which traverses the southwestern portion of the city. In most cases, the memorial names are not used in reference to these roadways.