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Historical Markers

City of Mesquite - Heritage Square

In May 1873, Texas & Pacific Railroad engineer, A.R. Alcott platted a new depot town named Mesquite. A post office opened the following year, and Mesquite was incorporated in 1887.

The community developed along the rail line, with businesses initially facing Front Street. As the town grew, business owners turned their front doors to Main Street in an effort to create a Town Square. In 1903, following a legal challenge, the City re-incorporated with new boundaries.

Mesquite, which began with an agrarian economy, grew rapidly in the second half of the 20th century as a Dallas suburb. The school district, established in 1901, is a draw for new residents, and the City continues to grow.

Sam Bass Train Robbery of 1878 - Heritage Square

Sam Bass 
Texas site marker: Sam Bass - with Seab Barnes, Hank Underwood, “Arkansas” Johnson, and Frank Jackson - held up a Texas and Pacific train here in Downtown Mesquite on April 10, 1878.

The gang took $152, but missed hidden shipment of $30,000. In planning a bank robbery three months later, Bass was fatally shot by Rangers.

Listen to a podcast about the train robbery at this link.

Holley-McWhorter-Greenhaw Family - 105 S. Broad

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Three generations of a Mesquite family made important contributions to the city’s commerce, schools and fine arts. Tennessee native Nathaniel A. Holley (1861-1947) came to the area in 1884, farming 40 acres near Balch Springs and raising sugar cane, vegetables and orchard fruits. After a year, he returned to Tennessee to care for his widowed mother, then came back to Mesquite intending to open a grocery store. Holley purchased a lot on the town square, but his commercial plans were delayed by the deaths of his wife and son. Holley and his second wife, Adell Humphreys, had four children, and in 1903 he opened his store with stock hauled from Dallas and loaded in a wagon and a buggy. Holley also started a family tradition of civic involvement, serving a term as city alderman and seven school years as a board member. Nathaniel and Adell’s two sons, Raymond and Anson, served in the military in World War I, and upon their return from France joined the family business. Youngest daughter Eula married Ferd Arthur McWhorter, who in 1943 expanded the family business along Broad Street. The retail operation named McWhorter’s (later McWhorter-Greenhaw) included hardware, farm supplies, furniture and appliances. Ferd continued the family commitment to education, serving 11 years on the school board. Ferd and Eula’s daughter Patricia married musician and educator Frank Greenhaw, who joined the family enterprise and was school board member and president, school choral and band director, and director of music for First Methodist Church of Mesquite. Through their long-running business and in the names of a street, a school and a city park, Mesquite remembers the Holley, McWhorter and Greenhaw families.

Mesquite Cemetery - 400 Holley Park Drive

This burial ground, a designated Historic Texas Cemetery, was in use well before the Texas and Pacific Railroad established the City of Mesquite in 1873. The earliest marked grave is that of Britanna Santifee Chapman (1856-1859) who shares a plot with pioneer residents Davis G. Chapman (1824-1881) and wife Nancy C. (1828-1912). In 1890, local builder and civic leader Louis C. Ebrite (1852-1943) plotted a tract of several acres in a grid pattern with driveways that define the layout of the cemetery to this day. The site was formally deeded for cemetery use in 1892 and continues to honor area veterans and to chronicle the generations that belong to Mesquite's proud heritage. Each May, Historic Mesquite Inc. highlights the stories of notable citizens buried in the cemetery with its Mesquite Meander tour.

City Lake Park - 200 Parkview Street

Dedication of the Texas Historical Marker for City Lake Park, 2019 
A post-World War II population boom transformed the metroplex, including Mesquite, with a population then numbering about 1,600. In 1947, as new roads and subdivisions connected previously rural communities, the city’s first park was developed. Local bank president N.E. Shands, along with Anson Holley and Raymond Holley, donated 12.5 acres to create a recreational and gathering place near downtown. Plans called for a six-acre lake, community building, picnic areas, and a swimming pool. Dallas county agreed to furnish the labor and equipment to excavate the lake basin. In October 1947, the city of Mesquite appointed its first park board to oversee the project. Mayor Sam Rutherford moved a surplus building from Camp Maxey (near Paris, Texas) for the community building, and citizens donated plumbing, electrical and other work to make it ready for use. The community building later evolved into Lakeside Activity Center, a popular rental facility for the city. The lake provided recreational opportunities and flood control for nearby neighborhoods. The pool was upgraded over the years and has become the city’s only aquatics center. Mesquite Cemetery, which dates from 1878, abuts the park. Other amenities, including a baseball field and playgrounds, have grown along with the city in the decades since the park’s establishment. Seventy years after the creation of City Lake Park, the city of Mesquite parks system consisted of 76 sites, including athletic fields, picnic areas, and connections to a trail system. City Lake Park remains a much-loved-and-used facility in the heart of the community. A Texas Historical Marker for the park was unveiled in 2019.

For More Information about Mesquite History

To learn more about the rich history of Mesquite, please visit the Historic Mesquite website.
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