Richardson is a city in Collin and Dallas Counties in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 91,803, while according to a 2007 estimate, the population had grown to 101,400. Richardson is a part of Dallas' Silicon Prairie, and is home to the Telecom Corridor, which is a very large technology business center that includes offices for 5,700 companies, including 600 technology companies, such as Nortel, Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent, Tellabs, Texas Instruments, and AT&T. It is also the corporate headquarters of Fossil, Inc.
In 2007 Sugar Land, Plano and Richardson were not eligible to rank in Money magazine's "America's Best Places to Live" since only cities with a population of 50,000 or less were considered. In 2006 and 2008 cities with populations of 50,000 to 300,000 were ranked. In 2008 Plano, TX did not make the top 100 list while Sugar Land, TX ranked 64th.
In 2007 the Morgan Quitno 14th Annual America's Safest and Most Dangerous Cities Awards were announced, and Richardson was named the 69th safest city in America. In the same study Richardson ranked the 5th safest city in Texas.
In 2008, Richardson was ranked as the 18th best place to live in the United States by Money magazine. This ranked Richardson the 4th best place to live in Texas behind Round Rock, McKinney and Carrollton.
In the 1840s, settlers from Tennessee and Kentucky began arriving in the Richardson area which was inhabited by Comanche and Caddo Native American tribes. Several of the earliest families clustered around an area later named Breckinridge in honor of John C. Breckenridge, Confederate Secretary of State and General, and Vice President of the United States from 1857-1861. The town was situated near what is now Richland College and consisted of a general store, a blacksmith shop and the Floyd Inn.
After the American Civil War, the new railroad bypassed Breckinridge and an area to the northwest of Breckinridge became the new center of activity. William J. Wheeler donated land for the town site and railroad right-of-way, but declined to have the village named in his honor. Instead the town was named for railroad contractor E. H. Richardson, who built the line from Dallas to Denison.
Richardson was chartered in 1873. Originally, there were three businesses: a general store, a post office and a drug store. In 1908 the Interurban, an electric railway, began service north to Denison, Texas, south to Waco, Texas, southeast to Corsicana, Texas and west to Fort Worth, Texas. By 1910, residents had seen their first telephone, electric light and gravel street, and had grown in number to about 600. In 1914, a red brick schoolhouse, presently home to the administrative offices of the Richardson Independent School District (RISD), was built.
In 1924, the Red Brick Road (Greenville Avenue) was completed, bringing an increase in traffic, population and property values. The following year the town incorporated and elected its first mayor, Thomas F. McKamy. All taxable property was assessed at a value of $515,292, and a total of 15 businesses were in operation. Bonds were issued and in 1926, waterworks were completed so homes could be furnished with indoor water. A sewage treatment plant was then constructed, the volunteer fire department began operating and, soon after, utility franchises were awarded to Lone Star Gas and Texas Power and Light Company. By 1940, the population stood at about 740 but after World War II, the city experienced a new surge in population. By 1950, the city boasted a population of approximately 1,300. Additional municipal services, such as emergency ambulance, police protection and parks and recreation facilities, became available to residents.
In 1951, Collins Radio opened a Richardson office, ushering the city into the electronic era. U.S. Highway 75 opened in 1954 and the agricultural city of the past became a community of shopping centers and homes. In 1955, Richardson’s first police department was organized; consisting of a chief and two officers. On June 26 1956, voters adopted a home rule charter and a council-manager form of government that still operates today. Door-to-door mail delivery became available to the 5,000 residents and funds were approved for a park and city hall. Also in 1956, Texas Instruments opened its offices just south of the Richardson border and land values increased dramatically as the city made significant advances in population and economic status. More than 500,000 people moved into the Dallas area in the period between 1940 and 1960.
In 1969, Erik Jonsson and other Texas Instruments executives donated the Southwest Center for Advanced Studies to the state and it became part of the University of Texas System called University of Texas at Dallas. In 1972, the population stood at approximately 56,000, and this same year the Richardson Independent School District had an enrollment of approximately 32,000 students in 16 elementary schools, seven junior high schools and four high schools.
Today the city is no longer the bedroom community of the 1950s and 1960s, but is itself at the heart of a significant employment center, the Telecom Corridor, where more than 80,000 people work each day. The Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) completed construction on three light rail stations for the city in the late 1990s. In the spring of 2000, City of Richardson officials broke ground on the Eisemann Center for Performing Arts and Corporate Presentations at the Galatyn Park Station urban center, named after Richardson philanthropist and businessman Charles W. Eisemann.
On December 4 2001 a Richardson-based charitable organization called the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development was designated under Executive Order 13224 issued by President George W. Bush as a charity that provided support to Hamas. In the United States the charity provided support to victims of the Iowa floods, Texas tornadoes, and the Oklahoma City bombing. The Holy Land Foundation criminal trial began on Monday, July 23 2007, at the Earle Cabell Federal Building and Courthouse in Dallas, Texas. On Monday, October 22 2007, Judge Joe Fish declared a mistrial for the government's case against the charity because jurors were deadlocked. On November 4 2007 the LA Times reported: "The nation's biggest terrorism finance case ended so badly for the government that it has thrown into question the Bush administration's original order to shut down the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development six years ago." The retrial began on September 22, 2008.
The city of Buckingham, after being completely surrounded by Richardson, was annexed into the city in 1996.
Richardson was a "dry city" with no alcohol sales until November 2006, when the local option election passed to allow the sale of beer and wine only. A notable exception is the affluent former city of Buckingham, which was annexed by Richardson in 1996. Because Buckingham allowed the sale of all alcohol, including liquor, prior to it's annexation, such sales were allowed to continue.
Richardson City Council members unanimously approved a smoking ban on May 12, 2008. Effective January 1, 2009 smoking will be banned in most restaurants. Exceptions are made for patio areas that are more than away from the main entrance of the building. Businesses which produce 70 percent or more of their income from the sale of alcohol are exempt. Businesses which produce 50 to 70 percent of their income from alcohol sales can provide a smoking area provided that the smoking area is separated by walls and uses a separate ventilation system. Businesses which produce 90% or more of their income from tobacco sales are exempt. All businesses that are smoke free or allow smoking are required to post a sign, designed by the city, which informs entering patrons of their smoking status. Council member John Murphy was quoted in The Dallas Morning News saying "I cannot remember a more potentially divisive issue to come before this council,".
Richardson received local media attention for removing its Rocket Slide and other Space Age and Cold War Era playground equipment from Heights Park in July 2008.
Despite declining economies in other parts of the United States, from 2005 thru 2008 Richardson has had substantial increases in its economy. The city’s total assessed property value went up from $8.3 billion in 2005 to $9.5 billion 2008. Sales tax collection went up from $21 million in 2005 to an estimated $24.7 million in 2008. The city has also achieved a considerable amount of corporate recruitment and retention. Including the new Blue Cross Blue Shield development, the largest DFW office campus development since 1987 is a 15 story, regional headquarters which employees 2,700. Credit Solutions, the largest for-profit debt management company in the United States, has moved into a building in Galatyn Park. Some other major corporate expansions or relocations include Countrywide Financial, MetroPCS, Yahoo, Huawei Technologies and Halff Associates, Inc.. Data centers continue to be a redevelopment interest in Richardson as well.
The city has experienced a surge of mixed-use development, suburban infill and transit-oriented development, predominantly on the city's eastern side. The Venue is a mixed-use development adjacent to Galatyn Park rail station. The Venue started leasing in March 2008. Eastside, a mixed-use, infill development, is at the midpoint of two DART rail stations, Araphaho Center and Spring Valley Station. Eastside is located on the southeast corner of Campbell Road and US 75. It features 450 apartments by Post Properties, of retail space and of office space in addition to a class A office building that was pre-existing on the development site. Eastside phase II will include 12 acres of office and mixed-use development. Brick Row, a $200 million mixed-use development, is located on the northwest corner of Spring Valley Road and Greenville Avenue. The site touches the Spring Valley DART rail station. The Shire is a mixed-use center of . Phase II is an additional 10 acres. The Shire has a boutique hotel planned and features 62 luxury condominiums. The former Richardson Square Mall has been redeveloped into a outdoor retail center. Other retail centers have been re-developed or remodeled including Buckingham Plaza, Buckingham Square, Dal-Rich Village, Richardson Village, II Creeks, Richardson Heights and Richardson Village.
This city has won many economic awards including DBJ’s 2006 “Best Real Estate Deal of the Year”, International Economic Development Council's 2006 "Technology-Based Economic Development Award", and Texas Economic Development Council's 2007 "Texas Economic Excellence Award".
In 2008 Standard & Poor's upgraded Richardson's credit rating to “AAA” from the previous rating of “AA+”. The City of Richardson is one of only four cities in the state of Texas and one of 88 cities in the nation with an “AAA” rating from Standard & Poor’s. Richardson is the metropolitan statistical area’s second largest employment center with daytime population increasing to more than 140,000. The economy remains rooted in the telecommunications industry. However, Richardson’s property tax base is deep and extends beyond its Telecom Corridor® area with other sectors including health care, technology, and finance. The City’s per capita sales are 200 percent of the national average as well as the second highest sales tax per capita in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex. The tax base is very diverse with the 10 leading taxpayers accounting for 10 percent of total assessed value.
Richardson is located at (32.965628, -96.715707).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 28.6 square miles (74.0 km²), all of it land.
Most of the city is in Dallas County, however the northernmost part of the city is in Collin County. Of the contained within the borders of the City of Richardson, . lie in Dallas County; the other . fall in Collin County.
High schools in Richardson include Richardson High School, Lloyd V. Berkner High School, J.J. Pearce High School, and the Christa McAuliffe Learning Center. Although located in the City of Dallas, Lake Highlands High School is also in the Richardson Independent School District.
Richardson was experiencing rapid growth in the 1960s and 70s and the library facility soon became inadequate for community needs. The current facility was constructed at a cost of $2 million and opened December 1st, 1970. The new library was 76,000 in size and contained four floors of which two were finished out and put into use. The basement was finished in 1980 for the reference collection and services. 1995 saw another expansion which finished the upper floor and renovated the three previously opened floors. The most recent renovation occurred in 2006 when the Youth Services department was expanded and other collections and services rearranged. In 2008 the library has a collection of about 250,000 items and circulates just over 1,000,000 items per year. Library web site
As of the census of 2000, there were 91,802 people, 35,191 households, and 24,774 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,213.9 people per square mile (1,241.1/km²). There were 36,530 housing units at an average density of 1,278.9/sq mi (493.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 75.39% White, 11.67% Asian, 6.18% African American, 0.45% Native American, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 3.65% from other races, and 2.60% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.26% of the population.
There were 35,191 households out of which 33.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.1% were married couples living together, 8.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.6% were non-families. 22.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.59 and the average family size was 3.07.
In the city the population was spread out with 24.8% under the age of 18, 8.7% from 18 to 24, 32.7% from 25 to 44, 23.9% from 45 to 64, and 10.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 97.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.2 males.
According to a 2008 estimate, the median income for a family in Richardson was $90,790. Males had a median income of $52,381 versus $35,255 for females. The per capita income for the city was $29,551. About 3.3% of families and 6.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.4% of those under age 18 and 3.4% of those age 65 or over.
Photographs courtesy of the Richardson Historical and Genealogical Society.
See also the University of North Texas' Portal To Texas History