History: A Past As Bright As Our Future

Named after the Virginia hometown of Civil War hero Robert E. Lee, the City of Arlington has enjoyed a colorful past that dates back to when the Caddo Indians occupied the land. Colonel Tate Johnson established a trading post that became a regular stopping point for stagecoaches, the mail and travelers including national politicians, and ultimately came to be known as Johnson Station.

Texas and Pacific Railway soon built a rail through this region, with Johnson Station becoming the ideal location as a stop to serve all the smaller settlements growing around the area now known as Tarrant County named after General E.H. Tarrant who had opened up the territory for settlers.

Incorporated in 1884, one year after its first newspaper was established, Arlington began to experience dramatic growth in the 1950s, when the population rose from 8,000 to 45,000 under the leadership of Judge Tom Vandergriff, a man who would serve a Mayor for twenty-five years. While attending the University of Southern California, Mr. Vandergriff watched Walt Disney build the dream of Disneyland.  He was fascinated with the opportunities for Arlington and saw the city’s geographic location in north central Texas as the ideal location for a similar family theme park venture.

In 1961, the original Six Flags Over Texas was opened to the public and now draws over 3 million visitors a year while remaining the biggest family theme park in the central states and the southwest.  Wet ‘n Wild Park followed Six Flags Over Texas, ultimately purchased by Six Flags and today operates as Hurricane Harbor, the largest water park in the southwest.

The Rangers Ballpark in Arlington was established as a stunning tribute to the great ballparks of the past and is now home to the Texas Rangers Major League Baseball Club.  Arlington’s Entertainment District has grown over the last forty years specializing in good quality, affordable & safe family fun, excellent food and great memories for over 6.5 million visitors a year.