Destination Information - Dallas, Texas, USA
Dallas isn't a town that's shy of having a big reputation, and as Texas's second city, and the US's ninth largest, it can afford to talk itself up somewhat. In fact despite Dallas's status it is also one of the country's youngest major cities. It was only in the 1930s that the Texas tea party arrived, when a frontier prospector struck black gold just outside the city limits. Oil made Dallas a genuine boom town, and the "nodding donkey" pumps that soon festooned the flat plains around the city were drawing up thousands of gallons of crude, which the entrepreneurial Dallas citizens wasted no time in converting to dollars.
Still, it isn't all founded on oil. Up to this point Dallas had been a city of some note, if not quite as spectacular wealth. In the vast expanse of the "Lone Star State" it was one of the major frontier trading posts. A railroad town, this was where the Missouri Kansas and the Texas Pacific Railroads met in the 1870s, meaning that Dallas was, in the space of a few years, catapulted in status to a major trading town - often being referred to as an inland port due to the massive amounts of trade and commerce that the twin tracks shuttled through the city.
The falling off of the railways brought an inevitable decline in Dallas's (and its twin, Fort Worth's) fortunes, but by then the city had built a reputation as an oasis of culture and fashion in inner America. Entrepreneurial fortune seekers had established businesses here that were booming in an America yet to feel the pinch of recession, and the advent of oil was to shield Dallas somewhat even from this post-war disaster. Consequently Dallas is still regarded as America's shopping city, with latest statistics indicating that there are more malls per person here than anywhere else in the US.
Modern times brought modern problems. Everyone remembers where they were when John F Kennedy was shot in 1963, but they also remember where JFK was, Dealey Plaza in Dallas in an open-top motorcade. It took a long time for the city to recover from such a bruising to its boisterous ego, and the controversy over the president's assassination continues more than four decades after his death. However, the city bounced back, and by the 1980s Dallas's name was on the lips of people around the globe as the eponymous TV show, the franchise that launched a thousand soap operas, enjoyed its most famous moment - the shooting not of a president, but of a fictional oil tycoon called JR Ewing.
Dallas today swaggers with all the bravado that its TV series imbued its characters with. Sometimes you might think it's a bit much, with stetsons, snakeskin belts and cowboy boots worn by many of its inhabitants. But if you think about it, it's so much fun to play cowboys, when in Dallas why not do as the locals?