In our last adventure, we got our first peek at the early history of the city of Irving. It began as a frontier town, its first settlers coming to the area in the 1850s. Today, Irving boasts a population of over 200,000 (the metropolitan area population is close to 2.5 million), and it is the third largest city in the county and the 13th largest in Texas.
Despite Irving’s prominent status as a leading city, it has still managed to retain its historic, small town charm and influence in many ways. For a glimpse of that early history, check out the city’s Heritage District, where the small-town square atmosphere still possesses a few “throw-back” businesses.
The city’s first library, water tower and windmill, railroad depot and Caster Cabin, built in 1887, are situated in Heritage Park, located in the heart of the Heritage District. Future plans for the District include two $30 million projects to enhance the area as a mixed-use community with single family residences, townhomes, commercial and retail businesses.
It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood
The flagship residential areas in Irving are Valley Ranch and Las Colinas.
Valley Ranch was formerly a cattle ranch. Today this master-planned development located just north of Highway 635 features an extensive and architecturally impressive network of levees, auto and pedestrian thoroughfares and canals that really make it a charming residential enclave.
Its numerous parks, ponds, walking trails and more are popular features in this community of approximately 30,000 residents. Community amenities include several schools, retail businesses, neighborhood community centers, restaurants and more. Oddly enough, right smack dab in the middle of this picturesque neighborhood is the Dallas Cowboys’ training facility. Yet if you didn’t read the name out front, you would probably think it is just one of the area’s community centers, it is so unobtrusive and non-flashy.
Las Colinas is another Irving jewel. Originally founded as a weekend getaway for a cattle ranching family in 1972, Las Colinas—Spanish for “The Hills”–has grown from an open grassland area into a stunning, 12,000-acre master planned community. The community is a wonderful mix of commerce, leisure, entertainment, residential, retail and more. It is here that you will find the world headquarters of five Fortune 500 companies, in addition to 2,000+ other corporation offices, several gated residential neighborhoods, the only Five-Diamond resort in the state, four championship golf courses, three private country clubs and coming in November, a brand new convention center on the site of the old Texas Stadium.
What makes Las Colinas unique is that despite its busy, mixed-use entities, it is wonderfully “packaged” in a picturesque and environmentally ambiance that makes it feel big, but cozy, at the same time.
In our next Irving adventures we’ll check out a stunning resort, the world’s largest equestrian sculpture, African American history and more.
To start at the beginning click here.