Years before the Civil War, Texas was struggling as an independent Republic. President Sam Houston was in the midst of an ambitious settlement program, and was recruiting single men and heads of families from the Ohio valley and Northeastern states. Although Texas was still wild and wooly, lucrative land offers were enticing to the new settlers.
In 1843, President Houston and fellow Republic of Texas Commissioners camped at Tah-Wah-Karro Creek, also known as Grape Vine Springs, to meet with the leaders of 10 Indian nations. The groups, who all shared the Texas prairies, signed a treaty of “peace, friendship, and commerce”, which safely opened North Texas for homesteaders and U.S. settlement. Within the year, the first settlers arrived and the settlement was named Grape Vine, due to its location on the Grape Vine Prairie near Grape Vine Springs. All were appropriately named to pay homage to the wild Mustang grapes that were abundant when the settlers first arrived. It wasn’t until 1914 when the post office altered the town’s name to one word, Grapevine. Grapevine was also known as “The Cantaloupe Capital of the World” for several decades.
Today, almost 50,000 people live in Grapevine, Texas. Residents are drawn to that same frontier spirit that was rooted in friendship, peaceful pride and a ‘can do’ attitude. DFW Airport has continued to stimulate Grapevine since it opened in 1974. Since then, Grapevine has transformed into a massive commerce and transportation center, due to its proximity to the airport’s north entrance. More recently, an enormous highway overall has left Grapevine with improved traffic flow and more accessibility for residents and visitors.
Grapevine Texas History
There are several organizations dedicated to preserving the heritage and history of Grapevine. They are here to share the story of perseverance, ingenuity and foresight of our city’s ancestors. Please take time to visit the websites listed below to learn about the city’s colorful history and the groups that make a difference in the quality of life here in Grapevine still today.
Grapevine Historical Society
The Grapevine Historical Society is dedicated to preserving the city’s historical heritage. Their website includes a detailed timeline of the history of the city, a touring map of the historical buildings in town, and various links to provide additional learning. Online monthly newsletters also offer interesting historical information. Become a member today for as little as $15!
The Grapevine Historical Museum is currently relocating the artifacts to its new building at 206 W. Hudgins Street. Watch for the grand opening in 2014.
The organization meets the 4th Monday of each month at 7 p.m. in the meeting room at the Grapevine Public Library, 1201 Municipal Way. The meeting is always open to the public.
The Grapevine Historical Society members have collaborated to publish three historical accounts of the city. The Grapevine Area History Book is filled with old photographs and archives, in addition to real accounts of life during the early settlement days. A second book, entitled Grapevine’s Most Unforgettable Characters, includes family essays and shared photographs. A third pictorial book was published in 2011.
— All books are available for purchase at the Grapevine Library or you can order it online at www.grapevinehistory.org.
The City of Grapevine — Historic Preservation Commission
Since 1991, the City of Grapevine has adopted the Historic Preservation Ordinance. In an effort to protect the unique architecture and rich heritage, the Historic Preservation Commission created a process for designating historic districts and landmarks. The city has two local Historic Districts and numerous residential Historic Landmarks throughout the city. A map of the Grapevine Historic Districts can be found on their website at www.grapevinetexas.gov.
The Grapevine Township Revitalization Program is a non-profit organization who assists in preserving the architectural heritage of the original Township of the City of Grapevine. More information can be found at www.grapevinetexas.gov.
Grapevine Heritage Foundation
The Grapevine Heritage Foundation is committed to the preservation and faithful stewardship of Grapevine’s historic resources and economic development. The Foundation also has its roots in the advocacy, education and community outreach.
The group meets every other month on the third Wednesday at 4pm in the Convention and Visitors Bureau at 636 S. Main Street.
With more than 500 members, both corporate and individual citizens, the Foundation has acquired and preserved numerous historical buildings, including the 1940 Palace Theatre and the Lancaster Theatre. The Foundation manages the Heritage Center, a museum complex along the Cotton Belt Railroad in downtown Grapevine. The Heritage Center houses the Grapevine Vintage Railroad operations, a blacksmith shop, the Historical Museum and more…
In addition to the downtown venues, the Foundation has recently initiated plans to restore the Thomas Jefferson Nash Farmstead to reflect the life and times of early Grapevine farmers and setters. Nash Farmswill offer educational programs, interpretive exhibits and historical perspectives on a disappearing part of Grapevine’s agricultural heritage. Please visit their Web site to learn more about their educational programs and the family entertainment facility.