County Seat: Dallas * County Population: 2,345,815
Located in the heart of downtown Dallas, the George Allen Courthouse, officially known as the George L. Allen Sr. Courts Building, was completed in 1965 in a Modern style. The 445,000-square-foot building was expanded by nine stories and some 210,000 square feet in 2006, providing a new home for the Dallas County civil courts. The building also houses a jail unit located on the upper floors.
The county’s previous capitol, the “Old Red Courthouse,” was erected in 1892 in a Romanesque Revival style and now houses the Old Red Museum of Dallas County History and Culture.
As hailed in the Dallas Morning News in 1892, Old Red was a “fine, modern, fireproof structure” and included “domes, towers and gables and many angles harmonizing to perfection.” Decades of modifications and renovations would eventually lead to Old Red’s decline. By 1920 the handcrafted, iron staircase was almost completely removed and the crumbling clock tower was disassembled, and by 1967 almost all remnants of original interior features had vanished. After years of work and research, the building has been restored to its original 1892 appearance both inside and out and stands once again as an impressive Dallas landmark. The courthouse was rededicated in May 2007.
Touted as the Southwest’s leading business and financial center, Dallas County and its seat of Dallas display an aura of modernism tempered by Old West charisma.
When it comes to family attractions, the county offers a variety of opportunities. Speedzone Dallas features four types of cars including 300-horsepower dragsters, along with 36 holes of miniature golf and more than 100 racing simulation video games. Families also frequent Ripley’s Believe It or Not and Louis Tussaud’s Palace of Wax which displays the nation’s presidents immortalized as wax figures. Finally, the Dallas World Aquarium and Dallas Zoo offer marine life from Fiji, Bahamas, Indonesia and Japan, and thousands of animals roaming 95 acres.
Dallas is home to the largest urban arts district in the country. The Nasher Sculpture Center offers more than 300 pieces and is the first institution in the world dedicated exclusively to the exhibition of modern and contemporary sculpture. The Dallas Museum of Art showcases an extraordinary collection of works by impressionists and other European painters, as well as the most extensive collection of African art in the United States. The Crow Collection of Asian Art boasts more than 600 pieces dedicated to the arts and cultures of China, Japan, India and Southeast Asia.
In 1989, The Sixth Floor Museum of the Texas School Book Depository opened in downtown Dallas as a tribute to President John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in Dallas in 1963.The exhibit features historic photographs, artifacts, and documentary films viewed by millions.
Finally, the area is a magnet for professional sports teams including the famous Dallas Cowboys Football Club along with Dallas Stars hockey, Texas Rangers baseball, and Dallas Mavericks basketball.