Mesquite, TX (Dallas County)


By: Susanne Starling

Revised by: Sandra Silva

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: March 23, 2022


Mesquite is a suburban city east of Dallas, Texas. Most of the city lies in Dallas County, with a small portion extending into Kaufman County. Mesquite is bordered to the west by Dallas, to the north by Garland, to the northeast by Sunnyvale and Samuell Farm, to the south by Seagoville and Dallas, and to the southwest by Balch Springs. It is positioned along four major highways (Interstates 30, 635, and 20, and U.S. Route 80). The approximate latitude and longitude coordinates of Mesquite are 32° 46' N / 96° 35' W.

Mesquite was established as a depot town by the Texas and Pacific Railway in May 1873. The town was named after nearby Mesquite Creek. Station agent William Bradfield was the first settler in the town, which attracted residents from the surrounding farm communities of Long Creek, New Hope, Haught’s Store, and Scyene. A post office was established in Mesquite in 1874. The Baptist congregation built the town’s first church in 1877. Residents incorporated the town on December 3, 1887, and elected J. E. Russell as mayor. The area converted to a cotton economy following the arrival of the railroad, but dependence on cotton and limited economic diversification hindered growth. The town square was built in 1901. The first manufacturing plant in the area, built just outside of the city limits of Mesquite, was Dallas Pressed Brick Company, founded by Schuyler B. Marshall, Sr., in 1904.

The Mesquite Telephone Exchange was established in 1900, and an electric company was founded in 1914 and sold to Texas Power and Light in 1916. During the 1920s Mesquite achieved a water and sewage system (1923), gained natural gas connections (1925), and became more closely linked to Dallas, first by way of the interurban railway between Dallas and Terrell (1923) and then thanks to the paving of Sycene Road (later Texas State Highway 352) between Dallas and Mesquite (1926). In 1924 Mesquite Independent School District (MISD), which was formed in 1901, received full state accreditation and opened Mesquite High School. The city saw an explosion in growth driven by suburban housing developments east of Dallas following World War II. In 1950 Mesquite’s city limits encompassed less than one square mile, and its population was 1,696. By 1960 a series of municipal annexations had enlarged the city to 20.6 square miles, and its population was 27,526. Many of those moving to Mesquite worked in Dallas or other neighboring cities. In 1970 more than 55,000 people resided in this bedroom community, and in 1980 more than 67,000. In 1982 the city annexed the community of Lawson.

Much of the city’s economy remains tied to the city of Dallas. MISD is the largest employer in Mesquite. Since 1983 the United Parcel Service (UPS) has been Mesquite’s largest private-sector employer. Other major employers include Pepsi Co., Ashley Furniture Industries, Walmart, Dallas Regional Medical Center, and Baker Triangle. In 1983 the city of Mesquite purchased the Phil L. Hudson Municipal Airport and renamed it the Mesquite Metro Airport. With its proximity to the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, the Mesquite Metro Airport also acts as a reliever facility for the busy international airport. Additionally, the airport accommodates Civil Air Patrol search and rescue flights, wildfire patrols, and military training. STAR Transit, which began operation as Kaufman Area Rural Transit in 1988, is a public transit company that provides bus transportation in Mesquite as well as other select cities in Dallas, Rockwall, and Kaufman counties. Town East Mall, which opened in 1982, is one of the largest shopping malls in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

Mesquite’s newspaper is called the Mesquite News, which started publication in 1882 as the Little Mesquiter. It is the longest-running newspaper in Dallas County and one of the longest-running in Texas and was established by R. S. Kimbrough. The newspaper reports on events in Mesquite and the surrounding area. In addition to the newspaper, a radio station broadcasts from Mesquite. KEOM-FM is owned and operated by MISD. This noncommercial radio station airs news programs, music, and MISD sports broadcasts. The station also airs locally-produced community service and educational programs. By 2021 the city of Mesquite had begun work on a major buildout that would add more that 10,000 additional homes to the Mesquite area.

According to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau for 2019, Mesquite is a minority-majority community. It was estimated that 22.1 percent of the population was foreign-born, 46.3 percent was Hispanic, 27.1 percent was non-Hispanic White, 20.6 percent was Black, 3.9 percent belonged to two or more races, and 3.9 percent was Asian. According to data compiled by Sperling’s BestPlaces in 2016, 62.7 percent of residents are religious. Christianity is the most common religion in Mesquite. The largest Christian bodies in the city are the Catholic Church (part of the Catholic Diocese of Dallas) and the Baptist Church, representing 19.6 percent and 13.2 percent of the population respectively. Islam is the second-largest religion in Mesquite, with 3.6 percent of the population, followed by Judaism with 0.7 percent. Eastern faiths make up 0.9 percent.

The Mesquite Arts Center opened in December 1995 and is a 36,700-square-foot municipal arts facility that houses a 494-seat music performance hall, black box theater, rehearsal hall, and galleries. The facility serves as a cultural center for the community and is home to the Mesquite Arts Theatre, Mesquite Community Band, and the Mesquite Symphony Orchestra. MISD encompasses approximately sixty square miles and includes Mesquite as well as areas of Garland, Balch Springs, and Dallas. During the 2021–22 academic year, the district enrolled around 38,000 students across fifty-one campuses. Higher education is provided by Dallas College Eastfield Campus, which opened in 1970 and provides undergraduate degrees and continuing education. Mesquite was declared the “Rodeo Capital of Texas” by the state legislature in 1993. As of 2022 the Mesquite Championship Rodeo has run continuously since its inception in 1958 (see RODEOS). In 2019 the Mesquite Outlaws, a professional indoor soccer franchise was founded.

Since 1953 the city of Mesquite has had a home rule charter and operates under a council-manager form of government. The seven-person city council is made up of a mayor, elected at-large, and six other council members elected from their respective districts. All council members serve two-year terms and appoint members of numerous boards and commissions, including the city manager, the administrative head of city government. Mesquite is home to two libraries. The Mesquite Public Library System includes the Main Library, near downtown Mesquite, and the North Branch Library, located in the northern area of the city. Also located in Mesquite is a Dallas County tax office, a Dallas County government center, and two United States post offices. The city of Mesquite’s Parks and Recreation Department manages more than forty parks and multiple nature areas and recreation facilities, including the Mesquite Golf Club. As of 2021 the city had been recognized as a Tree City USA community by the National Arbor Day Foundation for thirty-one years.

Mesquite Freedom Park, commemorating the victims of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, was dedicated on the fifteenth anniversary of the event. Its centerpiece is a piece of steel from the World Trade Center, given to the Mesquite Fire Department in 2011. In November 2020 a new Mesquite Veterans Memorial was dedicated near City Lake Park. This memorial pays tribute to military veterans from Mesquite who died during wartime. Historic Mesquite, Inc., is a nonprofit organization that identifies and preserves historical Mesquite sites and artifacts and disseminates educational material relating to Mesquite’s history.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of Mesquite was 150,108 as of April 1, 2020. However, the city of Mesquite determined that its population was 145,410 as of October 1, 2020.

“Best Places to Live in Mesquite, Texas,” BestPlaces (https://www.bestplaces.net/city/texas/mesquite), accessed March 17, 2022. City of Mesquite (https://www.cityofmesquite.com), accessed March 17, 2022. Mesquite Economic Development (https://mesquiteecodev.com), accessed March 17, 2022. Mesquite Independent School District (https://www.mesquiteisd.org), accessed March 17, 2022. A Stake in the Prairie: Mesquite, Texas (Mesquite Historical Committee, 1984).

Places:
  • Communities
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • North Texas

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

Susanne Starling Revised by Sandra Silva, “Mesquite, TX (Dallas County),” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 07, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/mesquite-tx-dallas-county.

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1952
March 23, 2022

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects:


Place
Mesquite
Currently Exists
Yes
Place Type
Town
USGS ID
2411090
Town Fields
  • Has post office: Yes
  • Is Incorporated: Yes
Belongs to
  • Dallas County
  • Kaufman County
Coordinates
  • Latitude: 32.76410990°
  • Longitude: -96.59271500°
Population Counts
People Year
135 1890
406 1900
687 1910
674 1920
729 1930
1,045 1940
1,696 1950
27,526 1960
55,131 1970
67,053 1980
101,484 1990
124,523 2000
139,824 2010
140,594 2019