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Facts and Life in Dallas, Texas

The hyper-modern metropolis that is Dallas sits at the northern end of the state, and houses some of the jurisdictions most iconic cultural and commercial points of interest. As one of the largest cities in the United States, this bustling metropolitan landscape welcomes some 24 million visitors each year.

Because of its strategic location, Dallas is something of a gateway. The city houses two major airports, and sits four hours away from most of the northern states of the country. But for as popular and prominent as Dallas might be, there’s a world’s worth of information that many outsiders don’t know about the teeming mecca.

Home of Snack Central

The world-famous 7/11 has branches all throughout the globe, but the mega-snack center had much humbler beginnings. Starting out as a single branch in Dallas, the first-ever 7/11 was nothing more than an ice retailer. But as the operations grew, management started adding other essentials to their list of items – including milk and eggs. Working its way to gasoline in 1928, the company soon introduced the Icee (today known as the Slurpee) in 1965.

Mega-Airport Bigger Than Manhattan

Navigating a busy, cramped airport might be the epitome of stressful travel, but the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport aims to make the experience a little easier and breezier. Sitting on 27 square miles of broad plains, this mega-airport is bigger than the island of Manhattan and sees some 1,850 flights every day or 64 million travelers each year.

The Birthplace of Barney

When Kathy Parker and Sheryl Leach found themselves stuck in gridlock traffic (something any Dallas-Fort Worth local would have to contend with during their lifetime), they concocted the idea of a big purple dinosaur learning, singing, and dancing with the neighborhood kids. And thus the iconic Barney & Friends was born. The resulting kid’s show would become a hit, spanning almost two decades and earning its creators big bucks along the way.

Laser Slinging, Star Wars Style

Watching those iconic outer space fight scenes and hearing the entrancing sounds of those neon-colored lightsabers sparked an idea in George Carter’s head. What if you could sling lasers Skywalker-style? Of course, inventing a beam of palpable light would take a few extra centuries, so Carter went ahead and used what lasers he could find. Soon, he developed the game initially called ‘Photon’, which went on to get dubbed in pop-culture as Laser Tag – a first in Dallas.

No Mistake is Permanent

Bette Nesmith Graham was a humble Dallas local and single mother struggling to get by and support her kids. Working by day as a typist, the woman was no stranger to typographical errors which wouldn’t only blemish her perfectly written work, but would at times require complete re-dos. So the woman got thinking – what if I could just wipe out those mistakes? And thus Liquid Paper was born, earning her $47.5 million after selling her idea and her product to Gillette in 1979.

Keeping Things Family Friendly

In 1906, Dallas City’s commissioners came up with a daring proposition to turn downtown Dallas into the state’s one and only red light district. And while the movement had quite a number of supporters, there were equally as many conservatives who engaged in heated debate as to why the plans couldn’t proceed. Five years later in 1911, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to have a red light district, since the state’s laws had stipulations against prostitution, therefore keeping Dallas a family-friendly city.

A Hotbed for Art Aficionados

Dallas might be home to a range of western-style restaurants and shopping centers, but it’s also quite the intellectual’s safe haven. Housing some of the most prominent art centers in the country, Dallas boasts various centers of art and culture like the Bath House Cultural Center, Dallas Museum of Art, African American Museum of Dallas, and the Dallas Holocaust Museum. If you’re into the science end of museum visits, then there’s the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. And if you’re a bit of JFK history nerd, there’s the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.

Luxury Shopping and History Combined

Closely tied to the community’s history is Highland Park Village. This sprawling luxury shopping center was the first of its kind not only in Dallas, but in all of the United States. Dubbed the country’s first shopping center, HPV is home to some of the most popular luxury brands, offering buyers a wide selection of premier bags, apparel, and more, all lined together in a picturesque shopping center setting.

Cash at Your Fingertips

Every street corner these days is lined with automated teller machines, and it was all because of the ingenuity of one Dallas-based hotshot. The executive Don Wetzel found himself in line at the bank one day, and found it funny that tellers did nothing but cash checks, take deposits, and tell people what their balance was – things he believed any old computer should be able to do. At the time, there were a bunch of companies whipping up their own version of an automated teller system, but Don Wetzel and his crew are identified as the inventors of the ATM as we know it today.

Not-So German Chocolate Cake

Anyone and everyone has probably already tried a slice of decadent German chocolate cake. But while you might be convinced that the confection is of European origins, the cake was actually first baked in Dallas. The recipe of one Samuel German – a Dallas native – German chocolate cake was first publicized in the 1957 Dallas Morning Staras the recipe of the day. Needless to say, the sweet, thick, and sinful chocolate cake recipe became a hit, and the name German chocolate cake just stuck.

Where’s the Water?

Many of the biggest, most progressive cities in the country are built around bodies of water and ports, lending clue to the methods of trade during the time that they were developed. But unlike this predictable pattern, Dallas is one of the few cities established around railroads and interstates. And with its massive 993.1 square kilometer area, Dallas proves to be the single largest metropolitan area in the country that isn’t built on a navigable body of water.

Way Before There Were Computers…

…there were calculators, and we owe that to Jack Kilby. This Dallas native is recognized as the genius Texas Instruments engineer that developed the first integrated circuit which would become a central component of the calculator, and all the computers and technology that would come after it. In fact, it’s also because of this development that we can now microchip our pets for easy identification and location in case they get lost. It’s no wonder Kilby received the Nobel Prize in Physics in the year 2000.

An Infamous Love Affair

Bonnie was once married to Roy Thornton – her highschool sweetheart. But it didn’t take long for the marriage to disintegrate. When Thornton was incarcerated for robbery, Bonnie met Clyde and sparked a new love affair. Together, they would become the infamous duo, best known for their streak of murders, burglaries, and robberies which ultimately led to their capture and death in 1934. The Dallas-raised duo were shot together in an ambush in Louisiana, but they’re presently buried in separate graves, both of which are located in Dallas.

It Isn’t Called ‘Big D’ for Nothing

Big on entertainment, food, history, culture, and sports, Dallas is figuratively and literally big. The massive cultural and commercial hotspot offers visitors and locals a slew of fun activities, interesting sights and sounds, and endless shopping centers and museums to satisfy every discriminating taste. Its rich history and beautiful landscape, coupled with every entertainment you could think of, make it a tourist hotspot any time of the year. Considered a major world city, Dallas has cemented itself as the place to be if you ever find yourself south of the country.

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