A History Buff's Guide To Dallas

Kalita Humphreys Theatre | © Sisdisco/WikiCommons
Kalita Humphreys Theatre | © Sisdisco/WikiCommons
Photo of Lauren Jones
15 November 2016

Established in 1841 by Pioneer John Neely Bryan, Dallas flourished as a major center for business and trade with the arrival of the railroads. The turn of the century brought an influx of new Texans, as the first buildings rose from the ground. Today, art deco details and the ultramodern meet, paying homage to a forgotten era.


Dallas’ skyline is something both magnificent and overwhelming. Futuristic skyscrapers shoot up toward the sky, creating an ever-evolving view among miles of rolling plains. As the sun sets, the city transforms as a kaleidoscope of colors permeate the night sky.

Kalita Humphreys Theatre

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Erected in 1959, the Kalita Humphreys Theatre is an architecture nerd’s dream. As one of only three remaining theaters by the great Frank Lloyd Wright, it’s now home to the prolific Dallas Theater Center. Catch a weekend performance, sit on stage if you dare, and snack on vintage candy for a real throwback vibe. Perfect for date night.

Wyly Theater

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Wyly Theater
Wyly Theater | © Andreas Praefcke/WikiCommons
Conceptualized by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Rem Koolhaus, the Arts District’s most fascinating building, the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre, was brought to life in 2009. The most fascinating part? Through the usage of an elaborate pulley system, the theater can reconfigure itself, giving both the actors and the audience an ever-changing view.

Dallas Pedestrian Network

Proposed in the late 1960s by urban planner Vincent Ponte, the Dallas Pedestrian Network is a long debated piece of Dallas history. First built as a way for pedestrians to avoid the blistering summer heat and frustrating downtown traffic, the network is now mainly abandoned. For those interested in unearthing a long-lasting piece of history, duck into an office building to explore miles of underground tunnels and skywalks that connect some of downtown’s largest buildings, hotels, and residences.

Dallas Pedestrian Network, 1601 Pacific Ave, Dallas, TX, USA

Campisi’s Restaurant

Campisi’s has been a Dallas favorite since its opening in 1946. Although the restaurant serves delicious Italian food, it is most well known for its owner’s connections to organized crime. Jack Ruby, who famously and fatally shot alleged Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, ate at Campisi’s the day before the murder. Owner Joseph Campisi and his wife were Ruby’s first visitors in prison. Conspiracy theorist or not, head on down for a pizza and marvel at this captivating historical spot.

Campisi’s Restaurant, 5610 E Mockingbird Lane, Dallas, TX, USA, +1 214 827 0355

Bonnie and Clyde

Dallas’s most infamous duo, Bonnie and Clyde first met at a friend’s home in West Dallas. From 1931–1934, the young Ms. Parker and Mr. Barrow terrorized the country with their gang. The pair was killed in the early morning hours of May 23, 1934, during a police ambush in Louisiana. Although they wished to be buried together, the Parker family wasn’t as keen.

Bonnie and Clyde | © Library of Congress/WikiCommons

Texas Theatre

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Texas Theatre is a historical landmark and spot to watch indie films
Texas Theatre is a historical landmark and spot to watch indie films | © Sean P. Anderson / Flickr
Visit the place where Lee Harvey Oswald felt his last moments of freedom. After shooting J.D. Tippit in Oak Cliff, Oswald snuck into the theater without paying. For the real history buffs, catch a late-night flick, order a stiff cocktail, and sit in Oswald’s seat.

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