Garland, Texas

Garland is a city in Dallas County in the U.S. state of Texas. It is an inner suburb northeast of Dallas and is a major part of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. As of the 2000 census, the city had a population of 215,768, making it the tenth-most populous city in Texas and the eighty-sixth most populous city in the United States. Garland is within a short driving distance of most major attractions in the Dallas/Fort Worth Area.


Settlers began arriving in the Peters colony area around 1850 but a community wasn't created until 1874. Two communities sprung up in the area: "Embree," named for the physician K. H. Embree, and "Duck Creek," named for the local creek of the same name. A rivalry between the two towns ensued as the area began to grow around the Santa Fe Railroad depot. Eventually, to settle a dispute over which town should have the local post office, Dallas County Judge Thomas A. Nash asked visiting Congressman Joe Abbott to move the post office between the two towns, which was done in 1887. The new location was named "Garland" after Attorney General Augustus Hill Garland. Embree and Duck Creek were combined to form the city of Garland. In 1891, the new city was incorporated. By 1904 the town had a population of 819 people.

In 1920, local businessmen financed a new generator (sold by Fairbanks-Morse) for the town. Out of this was formed Garland Power & Light, the municipal electric provider that still powers the city today.

On May 9, 1927, a devastating tornado destroyed much of the town and killed 17 people, including former mayor S. E. Nicholson.

Businesses began to move into the area in the late 1930s. The Craddock food company and later the Byer-Rolnick hat factory (now owned by Resistol) moved into the area. In 1937, KRLD, a major Dallas radio station, built a radio tower in Garland, which is operational to this day. During World War II, several aircraft plants were operated in the area and Kraft Foods purchased one after the war for their own manufacturing usage. By 1950, the population had reached 10,571 people.

From 1950 to 1954, the area suffered from a serious drought. To supplement the water provided by wells, the city began using the waters of nearby Lake Lavon.

Following World War II, the suburban population boom that the nation experienced also reached Garland. By 1960, the population had more than tripled from 1950 numbers to 38,501. By 1970, it more than doubled again to 81,437. By 1980, the population had crossed the 100,000-person threshold with 138,857 people.

Population history

1900: 202
1910: 1,054
1920: 4,505
1930: 8,958
1940: 5,698
1950: 10,547
1960: 38,501
1970: 81,437
1980: 138,857
1990: 164,748
2000: 215,768
2007: 224,750 (NCTCOG estimate)

Recent developments

In the 2000s, Garland added several notable developments, mostly in the northern portion of the city. Hawaiian Falls waterpark opened in 2003 (Garland formerly had a Wet 'n Wild waterpark, which closed in 1993). The Garland Independent School District's Special Events Center, an arena and conference facility, opened in 2005, as did Firewheel Town Center, an outdoor mall with more than 100 businesses. A franchise of the large sporting goods store Bass Pro Shops opened in the southern portion of the city in 2006.

Future Developments

The success of the Special Events center has allowed for Hyatt Hotels to join in partnership with Garland ISD, and will be expected to host many future events.

Recently, voters approved a $450 million bond issue in May 2004, which covers new buildings and expansion for Dallas County Community College District, plus the addition of five community education campuses in under served or fast-growing areas of Dallas County - including plans for a Garland Education Center.

In 2006, it was announced that the Dallas County Community College District, would allow Richland College to oversee the development of the project, set to begin in late 2007. Goals for this campus include:

  • A clear program focus on addressing the workforce development training needs of Garland by offering specific corporate and contract training;
  • Flexible scheduling and configuration for training needs;
  • Courses offered by several DCCCD institutions at one location, which is accessible by DART bus and light rail routes;
  • A new Business Innovations Center, where principles of performance, excellence and prototype product and systems development can be offered;
  • An environmentally friendly campus facility; and
  • Offices for appropriate mission-related job opportunity/chamber/career development agency partners who can enhance on-site training and employment needs.


Garland is located at (32.907325, -96.635197). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 57.1 square miles (147.9 km²), all land.


As of the census of 2000, there were 215,768 people, 73,241 households, and 55,443 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,778.1 people per square mile (1,458.7/km²). There were 75,300 housing units at an average density of 1,318.5/sq mi (509.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 65.27% White, 11.87% African American, 0.60% Native American, 7.35% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 11.99% from other races, and 2.89% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 25.58% of the population.

There were 73,241 households out of which 41.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.7% were married couples living together, 13.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.3% were non-families. 19.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.93 and the average family size was 3.37.

In the city the population was spread out with 29.8% under the age of 18, 9.6% from 18 to 24, 33.0% from 25 to 44, 20.5% from 45 to 64, and 7.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 98.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $49,156, and the median income for a family was $53,545. Males had a median income of $35,859 versus $29,392 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,000. About 6.8% of families and 8.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.3% of those under age 18 and 8.7% of those age 65 or over.


Most of Garland is in the Garland Independent School District (GISD). Parts of Garland extend into other districts, including the Dallas Independent School District (DISD), the Mesquite Independent School District (MISD), and the Richardson Independent School District (RISD).

The GISD does not have school zoning, so GISD residents may apply to any GISD school.

The GISD portion of Garland is served by several high schools. Garland High School is home to the district's International Baccalaureate program. North Garland High School is the math, science and technology magnet. Lakeview Centennial High School is GISD's "College and Career" magnet school. South Garland High School is known within the community for its vocational cosmetology program. Other GISD high schools include Naaman Forest High School, Rowlett High School, and Sachse High School.

The MISD portion of Garland is served by Price Elementary School, Vanston Middle School, and North Mesquite High School.

The RISD portion is served by O. Henry Elementary School, Liberty Junior High School, and Berkner High School.

As of November 2006, the GISD had 52,391 students and 3,236 teachers, for an average ratio of 16.2 students per teacher. The 2006 GISD property tax rate was $1.5449 per hundred dollars of assessed property value.

Neighborhoods and historical communities



Major highways

Central Expressway


One train track runs parallel to Garland Road, coming out of Mesquite and heading all the way through the other side of Garland City.

Light rail


The city of Garland operates the city's water system and waste services. Electricity for about 85 percent of Garland is provided by the city's municipal utility, Garland Power & Light (GP&L). Electricity for the other 15 percent was formerly provided by TXU, but is now supplied by multiple companies after deregulation of the Texas electricity market.

As of August 2007, GPL cost data and consumer prices are not available to consumers, residents, or the general public. The GP&L 2006 Annual Report reflects a $41.8 million net income and cumulative total of $242.8 million in "retained earnings" from consumers. The city council reviews GP&L data in secret meetings and does not make the data available The Texas Public Utility Commission says GP&L is unregulated. The United States Department of Energy says Texas electric utilities are unregulated by the US Government since Texas is the only state not connected to the national power grid. GP&L claims to be non-profit, but they report millions of dollars in profits that are unaccounted for. Texas law, Local Government Code §402.902E, prohibits municipal electric utilities from using profits for any purpose other than to finally pay of bonds; however, the Dallas County District Attorney's office says this law is unenforceable since the Texas Legislature did not provide criminal or civil penalties for violation (Source: See TxLGC §402.902E) According to US Energy Information Administration statistics, GP&L customers pay some of the highest rates for electricity in the United States. A prominent former mayor of Garland, Jim Spence, says GPL raised prices in 2004 based on "bogus fuel cost data" to generate an average of $12 million for city subsidies Texas State Senator John Carona has been instrumental in protecting GP&L profits for the City of Garland.

Points of interest

Cultural arts & entertainment

  • Historic Downtown Garland
  • Patty Granville Arts Center is a complex owned and operated by the city. Included within the complex are two elegant proscenium theatres which seat 720 and 200, respectively. Also included as part of the complex is the Plaza Theatre, which has seating for 350. The Atrium at the Granville Arts Center is a ballroom encased in glass on two sides and opening onto an elegant outdoor courtyard. The Atrium provides civic, community and commercial organizations the opportunity to house banquets, receptions, trade shows, and conventions.
  • The Garland Opryis a non-profit organization which has been providing the Garland community with weekly Country and Gospel music entertainment for over 32 years.
  • The Plaza Theater
  • Pace House

Parks & recreation

What is Garland Famous for?

The animated television series King of the Hill was created by former Garland resident Mike Judge, who used elements of Garland as an inspiration for its setting — the fictional (and similar-sounding) town of Arlen.

Other former and current Garland residents who have gained national and international recognition include singer LeAnn Rimes, actress Crystal Bernard, musician Dean Sams of the band Lonestar, singer Amber Dotson, singer/songwriter [Austin Cunningham], and rockabilly Hall Of Famer Gene Summers. Sports stars include NFL placekicker Mac Percival, Safety Melvin Bullitt and NBA players Mookie Blaylock and Ricky Pierce. Long before the infamous Waco incident, David Koresh attended Garland High (he dropped out before graduating).

According to a postcard from Buck Owens dated 3-31-98 he wrote: "Enclosed autograph. Thought you might get a kick out of knowing (that) Garland, (TX) is where I went to school (grades) 1-2-3 when we decided to move to Calif. (in) 1938- Buck Owens"

3D Realms, the video game creator is best known for creating the Duke Nukem series, is in Garland. Some episodes of the Chuck Norris television series Walker, Texas Ranger were filmed in Garland, as well as some scenes for the Fox Network series Prison Break. Garland has a street called Star Trek Lane, the first and probably the only official place name of the Star Trek television series created by Gene Roddenberry (who was born in El Paso, Texas).

Mitchel Musso, who is Oliver on Disney Channel's Hannah Montana, was born and raised in Garland, TX.

The sport of Agility for dogs all started in Garland, Texas when Kenneth Tatsch, President and USDAA Founder, created The United States Dog Agility Associationto introduce the sport to north America and to include all breeds of dogs. Founded in 1986, the USDAA is now international and considered the world's largest independent authority for the sport of dog agility, with more than 22,000 registered competitors. The most recent international competition that was held in Garland was at Winter's Park in approximately 2002. The USDAA's corporate office is located at 300 South Kirby Street, Suite 101 in downtown Garland.


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