Denton, Texas – History and Things to Do

Denton is a town in Texas that is known for its captivating combination of fantastic music, thrilling nightlife, and as well as independent culture. It is the county seat of Denton County, and one of the larger cities in the Dallas Fort Worth metroplex. This city got its name from John B. Denton, a soldier, lawyer, and a Methodist minister who was killed while defending frontier settlers.

When you visit Denton, there will be no shortage of ways to enjoy your time. If you are thinking of visiting this town soon, then maybe you are researching for the things you can do and the attractions you can see there. If you are, then you’ve come to the right place. Today, we are going to give you information about the history of Denton and all the fun things you can do there when you visit.

History of Denton

The Formation of the town of Denton is closely tied to that of Denton County. The settlement of the area began in the mid-1800s when a land grant from the Texas Congress was obtained by William S. Peters of Kentucky. He then named the place Peters Colony.

Pioneers settled in this Texas region in the early 1840s, and in 1846. Denton County was founded by the Texas Legislature, and the city of Denton was then created in 1856 as the headquarters of the county on a 100-acre piece of land donated by William Loving, William Woodruff, and Hiram Cisco.

In 1870, the population of the City of Denton was 361 individuals, with the first mayor being J. B. Sawyer. Rapid development followed, and this resulted in population growth from 361 to 1,194 in 1880, and by 1890 that number had doubled to 2,558.

Agriculture was the main economic activity where only subsistence farming and livestock rearing was practiced. However, after the Civil War, transport networks improved, and cash crop farming was intensified. Railroads promoted manufacturing, which made it easier for farmers to ship their produce. Crops such as cotton, wheat rice, and dairy began to be of great importance.

The position of the City of Denton also played a major role in its development as it is located in the central part of Denton County with the development of factories such as farm produce mills, including cotton and flour mills.

It further grew into a college town when a higher learning institution of Texas Normal College was founded in 1890 and Girl’s Industrial College in 1903. The two colleges still operate today as the University of North Texas and Texas Woman’s University, respectively, and account for about 50% of Denton’s population.

Good transport networks, colleges, and agricultural industries turned the City of Denton into an economic hub. In the present time, this city is estimated to be home to about 138,541 people.

The Campus Theatre in Denton

Things to Do in Denton Texas

After reading about the history of Denton, Texas, here’s a list of all the fun things you can do in this town when you visit.

  • Visit Denton Town Square

Denton town square is one of a kind because it is exquisite and historical. One of the attractions you can find here includes one of the largest Golden Era courthouses in Texas, which is the 1896 W. C. Dodson courthouse. Aside from that, this historic town square is also home to a lot of antique restaurants and shops. Unlike many town squares, Denton Town Square is a lively place, thanks to the residential neighborhoods that are located nearby, and its faithfulness to the historical traditions of town squares.

  • Visit Courthouse-on-the-Square Museum

Formerly known as Courthouse of Denton County, this fantastic building was constructed in 1896 sand is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Courthouse-on-the-Square is also the home of Denton County officers. It is located in the heart of Denton, and it showcases a collection of historic qualities of the town. By visiting it, you will be able to enjoy architecture and history. It will offer you a great experience and as well as lessons about the past.

  • Visit Denton County African American Museum

The African American Museum in Denton County is also known as Quakertown House. This museum will show you the lives and experiences of Denton’s African slaves who worked on farms and plantations in the area during the 19th century. Denton County African American Museum was initially the place where the slaves lived while offering labor to the Whites of Denton County.

  • Visit Ray Roberts Lake State Park

Being an industrious county dating back to the 18th century, Denton relied on reservoirs such as Lake Ray Roberts for industrial use. The 29,000 acres lake showcases ancient engineering works you won’t see in other places in the world. It was also the chasing point between occupants that led to the death of J. B. Denton, whom the county is named after.  Some of the activities you can do when you visit Ray Roberts Lake State Park in Denton include camping and fishing, where you can catch white bass, catfish, and as well as largemouth bass.

  • Watch a Show at the Historic Campus Theater

This movie theatre was opened in downtown Denton in 1949. Unlike many modern theatres, Campus Theatre enables you to experience a touch of history and a thriving art culture. The screening of iconic movies such as 1967’s Bonnie and Clyde happened in this theatre, and it continues to screen elegant films even today. If you’re into films or you love watching movies, then you shouldn’t miss visiting the Historic Campus Theater in Denton.

  • Board an A-Train

The A-Train is a 34km commuter line, and it is one of the busiest rail lines in Texas. The A-Train is Denton’s ancient means of transport, where you will also have a great time as you move around Denton. It connects with the Dallas Area Rapid Transit or DART, and it passes through historical industries, such as the Trinity Mills Station and the famous Lewisville Lake Station, which provided water for domestic and industrial use for Denton’s growth.

Denton’s beauty today is all thanks to its deep-rooted history. It has a legacy of pioneering events and innovations, which has made the place a significant and exquisite site to visit. Agriculture still serves as Denton’s primary business activity despite the massive industrialization. You should definitely include Denton as a must-visit place in your bucket list.