The T&P Railroad gave Grand Prairie its name based on maps of the 1850’s that labeled the area between Dallas and Fort Worth “the Grand Prairie of Texas”. The name replaced the earlier moniker of Dechman, after the original settler who traded a team of oxen and a wagon for 339 acres of land. He later traded half of his property to the railroad company to encourage them to bring the railroad to the area, and the town was incorporated as Grand Prairie in 1909.
Grand Prairie has a long history in the defense and aviation industry. During WWII, the town was home to the North American Aviation plant, which produced the P-51C and K Mustang variants. After the war, Vought Aircraft took over the plant and produced the F-8 Crusader, A-7 Corsair II aircraft, and missiles such as the Scout and MLRS. The missile and space division was eventually sold to Lockheed Martin which continues to operate in Grand Prairie.
While early settlers may have faced difficult hardships, life is truly grand in Grand Prairie today. Grand Prairie offers residents and visitors a variety of entertainment venues, including Lone Star Park, home of world class horse racing and the annual Memorial Day Thoroughbred meeting with seven stakes races worth just over $1 million; GPX Skate Park, which hosted the 2001 and 2002 X-Games trials; and the state-of-the-art 6,350-seat Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie, which hosts nationally acclaimed live entertainment including pop, rock, country, comedy, magic, and Broadway performances. The city recently opened its new premier outdoor event area, the Gardens at the Ruthe Jackson Center, a beautiful garden venue for weddings and other outdoor social events.
Grand Prairie is home to the minor league baseball team, AirHogs and their new stadium, Quiktrip Park. Grand Prairie’s Tangle Ridge Golf Course is one of Texas’ top-ranked courses, and Prairie Lakes Golf Course was ranked among Golf Digest’s “2008 Best in Texas”. Joe Pool Lake offers camping, cabins, fishing, picnicking, swimming and water skiing.
Grand Prairie was named a “Best Place Live in the USA” by Money magazine, and the city’s Parks and Recreation Department earned a Gold Medal Award, the highest national award from the National Recreation and Parks Association.