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LEWISVILLE, TX (DENTON COUNTY)

LEWISVILLE, TEXAS (Denton County). Lewisville is nine miles northeast of the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airportqv in southeastern Denton County, ringed by Dallas, Fort Worth, and Denton. The site was part of the Peters colony. In 1840 the Texas Immigration and Land Company was given an empresario grant by the Republic of Texas to encourage settlement in the area. In 1844 the families of John King and his son Augustus G., originally from Missouri, moved from Bonham, Texas, to become the first settlers in the area that became known as Holford Prairie, for John and James Holford, who also arrived that year. Competition for land among increasing numbers of settlers intensified in the 1850s. The Texas Immigration and Land Company employed Henry Hedgcoxe to administer property filings, plats, and titles. Hedgcoxe's strict adherence to company rules and the law made him unpopular. During the Hedgcoxe War, disgruntled residents ran him out of town and destroyed his home and records. In 1853 Willis Stewart went to Austin to sort out the land claims. Stewart was able to settle the claims, aided by the General Land Office and, in the process, developed the earliest comprehensive homestead law. In 1853 Basdeal W. Lewis bought the Holford properties and established Lewisville. That year the Lewisville post office was established. Rawlins, Kealy, and Herod built a gristmill in Lewisville in 1862. Several stores were built, and by 1867 T. M. Clayton and George Craft built the first cotton gin in Denton County there. In 1868–69 the first church was built at Lewisville, and the first Masonic lodge of the county was housed there.

Lewisville grew rapidly after the arrival of the Dallas and Wichita Railway in 1881. By 1900 the population was 500. In 1925 the population reached 815, and the town incorporated. Meanwhile, the Elm Fork of the Trinity River was dammed to assure the area's water supply. Lewisville grew despite the Great Depression, and its population reached 873 in 1940. The population was 1,509 in 1950. Growth accelerated throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Expansion of the dam on Lake Lewisville and construction of Interstate Highway 35E and DFW Airport caused the population to increase to 5,439 by 1960. In August 1969 Lewisville was the site of the Texas International Pop Festival, a three-day event that featured such stars as Janis Joplin and B. B. King and drew a total attendance of 120,000. The growth of defense, aerospace, and computer industries, the relocation of many corporate headquarters and businesses to the region during the 1970s and 1980s, and the completion of Vista Ridge Mall and Alliance Airport boosted Lewisville's population to 46,521 by the 1990 census. By 2000 the population was 77,737. Lewisville is a planned mix of single and multiple family housing with an award-winning park system. In addition to the Lewisville Independent School District, an extension site of Cooke County College serves the community. Lewisville, a home-rule city since 1962, is governed by a council-manager government. Its five council members and mayor are elected at large. City offices occupy a $5 million facility that opened in 1989.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

C. A. Bridges, History of Denton, Texas, from Its Beginning to 1960 (Waco: Texian Press, 1978). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Richard W. Byrd

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Richard W. Byrd, "LEWISVILLE, TX (DENTON COUNTY)," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hel07), accessed August 01, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.