At the 2024 ED EXPO, explore the historical city of Dallas, which has humble beginnings as a trading post, and, through years of significant impacts on American development, is today a global city known for economy, technology and culture.

(NOTE: This story appears in the May 2024 issue of ED Magazine.)


ounded in 1841 by John Neely Bryan, the city of Dallas was like any other pioneering place, a small trading post along a river. Railroad construction in the late 19th century and the discovery of oil in the early 20th century marked the city as a hub for major oil companies’ banking and finance — an aspect of Dallas history present in everything from its unique historic hotels, to its connection to the AFL. Dallas emerged later as a major urban center, while exhibits of its resilience can be seen in the Dallas Zoo, from 1888, one of the ten oldest zoos in the U.S.; the world’s first convenience store, 7‑Eleven (still headquartered in Dallas today), established in 1927; and America’s first planned shopping center, Highland Park Village Shopping Center, developed in 1931.

Of significant importance for American innovation, the invention of the integrated circuit computer chip (which became the microchip) was made in Dallas in 1958 by Jack Kilby. And did you know that the Super Bowl originated in Dallas? Lamar Hunt, son of oil tycoon H.L. Hunt, was a Dallas resident who wanted to acquire a National Football League (NFL) franchise team. His failure to do so resulted in the founding of the American Football League, which he termed, at first jokingly, in 1966, the ‘Super Bowl.’ Of course, this became an American and global phenomenon — with ad prices going for roughly $7 million for thirty seconds with the audience of 115 million people.

The urbanized Dallas is home to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, the second largest airport in the USA, and a central hub for cross-country travel, which opened in 1974. And today, the historical Dallas and its surrounding ‘Metroplex’ is a prominent center for industries such as technology, telecommunications and healthcare, known for its booming economy, diverse arts and lively entertainment culture in day and night.

History in the woodwork

Dallas has a few historic hotels for history buffs wanting to wake up in the previous century, if not just to visit their fine restaurants and art exhibits. The Adolphus Hotel, a 1912, 422-room hotel, is the oldest in the city. It features one of the city’s finest restaurants, The French Room, which is decorated with a domed fresco ceiling, Italian Murano Glass chandeliers, marble floor and gilded Louis XVI style chairs. The Joule, originally constructed in 1927 as the Dallas National Bank Building, features a revolving art installation including Tony Tasset’s three-story eyeball sculpture, Roger Hiorns’ crystal-covered engine and works by Andy Warhol, Richard Phillips, Tony Cragg and Adam Fuss. The Magnolia Hotel, a 29-story Magnolia Petroleum Company relic, and the city’s first skyscraper, is now known for its red neon Pegasus which sits atop the building as a beaming beacon of Dallas.

Presidential museums

The 207,000-square-foot Bush Center opened in 2013 and features historical documents and artifacts from the Bush presidency, as well as his time as governor of Texas. The Center, operated and maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration, is a complex comprised of the presidential library and museum, the George W. Bush Policy Institute and the offices of the George W. Bush Foundation, located on the campus of Southern Methodist University.

Highlights include 43,000 artifacts, such as a 22-foot piece of steel taken from the scraps of World Trade Center, as well as gifts from Foreign Head of State, given to the President and First Lady, in the “Gifts to the President” exhibit; 70 million pages of textual materials, such as the President’s Daily Diary; eight million photographs covering everything from the attacks on 9/11 to games on the White House Lawns; 200 million emails in correspondence with the White House staff; 30,000 audiovisual recordings covering the eight years of the Bush Presidency; and an exact replica of the Oval Office, decorated as it was during the administration of the 43rd Presidency of the United States.

To learn about the life, legacy and the death of President John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in Dallas at the Dealey Plaza, read our full story on the Dealey Museum.

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