Our Past is a Present to our Future
The Arlington Historical Society will connect you to Arlington's past through the Fielder Museum, Historic Fielder House, Knapp Heritage Park, and Arlington Heritage Memorial Grounds. We will share our city's history through our tours, programs, always changing exhibits, and special events. We present you with the "Faces of Arlington" (people, places, and things) with these incredible venues. The Historic Fielder House, with the latest renovations and exhibits, includes a special section on the Arlington Downs Race Track, bringing the past to life. We are very excited about our new look inside and outside! Visit us and see how many Faces of Arlington you recognize! Come out and learn about your city!
See you soon,
Arlington Historical Society
THE HISTORY OF ARLINGTON
With a population of more than 365,000 and spread across 100 square miles, Arlington is located precisely midway between Dallas and Fort Worth. In both population and area, it has a unique distinction other than its 49-in-population standing. It is the largest “mid” city in America.
Arlington’s history is complex, its identity evolving over more than 150 years. It has been a frontier outpost, an agricultural center, a site of Indian battles, and a mecca for horse racing and gambling. It once was famed for its mineral waters, it has long been a college town (the home of three colleges), and it hosts major industrial entities such as the Arlington General Motors Assembly Plant. Today, it is famed for Major League Baseball, soon to be home of the Dallas Cowboys football team and amusement attractions that feature giant roller coasters, but it also has a high tech component that includes a nanotechnology incubator designed to introduce leading-edge university research into the world of commerce.
Named in honor of Arlington, Virginia. Arlington rests squarely on the divide of two distinct geological strata, a vast “grand prairie” called Eagle Ford, and an oaks-dominated woodland of gently rolling hills called the Eastern Cross Timbers. Its heritage is a colorful one, beginning with Native Americans and continuing through the explorations of the first Europeans and the earliest days of the Texas Republic. No less than six national flags have flown here.
The first non-Indian settlement dates to the 1840s. Indeed, Arlington began as the failed Bird’s Fort, evolving into a site of a Texas Ranger post (Johnson Station) authorized by Republic President Sam Houston to serve as a dividing line between settlers and a collection of Indian tribes driven to the area by American westward expansion.
The Republic of Texas signed its first-ever Indian peace treaty here in 1843 at Bird’s Fort with nine tribes, including Cherokee, Delaware, Biloxi, Caddo, Keechie including Waco representatives. Caddo tribes dominated early Indian settlements and were the first residents of the area, camping in such an abundance of settlements that one local waterway, Village Creek, was named for their presence. Early Caddos practiced agriculture near the waterway, their long-time presence established by numerous archeological digs. Caddo settlements were visited by the first European explorers to the area, including Cabeza de Vaca in 1535 and La Salle in 1687, and later by Texas Rangers, who defeated them in the Battle of Village Creek in 1841. These lands became part of the vast plantation holdings of Col. Middleton Tate Johnson, who arrived in 1846 from the Mexican War and took command of a Texas Rangers company at what became known as Johnson Station.
ARLINGTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY
EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBERS
Melody Rushing Frank
Martha May Martin