By: Kendall Louis
Government established Denton; the railroad sustained it; and education made it explode.
The city is on the northern division of I35 — the NAFTA highway — where it forks to I-35E to Dallas and I-35W to Fort Worth. Residents who wanted a county seat near the center of the county founded it in 1857.
Then the railroads came —the Texas and Pacific Railway from Sherman to Fort Worth and the Missouri, Kansas and Texas to Dallas were completed in 1881.
But the events that would distinguish the city today came when North Texas Normal College — now the University of North Texas — was established in 1890 and the Girls’ Industrial College — now Texas Woman’s University — was established in 1903.
The presence of the universities assures a variety of events and festivals, especially a vibrant music scene.
Today, UNT has an undergraduate and graduate enrollment of 35,664. Texas Woman’s graduate and undergraduate enrollment is 14,694. That’s 50,358 students between the two.
And that, says resident Richard DeRosa, director of jazz composition and arranging at the University of North Texas, is a central reason for the city’s growth.
“Although it’s a small town, there is a vibrant music scene and overall a cosmopolitan flavor. There are some good restaurants with a variety of cuisines,” DeRosa says.
“The sizes of the universities are growing and also there is a lot of new housing,” DeRosa said. “In general, it may also be because living in or near Dallas or Fort Worth is less economical.”
Not to be overlooked is the impact of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, which is closer to Denton than many locations in Fort Worth and Dallas and made the city a residence of choice for traveling executives and employees of the airport and related industries. The development of AllianceTexas had a similar impact.
Between 1970, before D/FW opened, and 2012, Denton grew by 190 percent.
By: Kendall Louis