Settlers from Kentucky and Tennessee came to the Richardson area in the 1840s. Through the 1850s, the settlement was located around the present-day site of Richland College. After the Civil War a railroad was built northwest of the original settlement, shifting the village’s center closer to the railroad. Richardson was chartered in 1873, and the town was named after the secretary of the Houston & Texas Central Railroad, Alfred S. Richardson.
In 1908, the Texas Electric Railway, an electric railway known as the Interurban, connected Richardson to Denison, Waco, Corsicana and Dallas. In 1910 the population was approximately 600. A red brick schoolhouse was built in 1914 and is now the administrative office for the Richardson Independent School District. In 1924 the Red Brick Road, the present-day Greenville Avenue, was completed. The completion of the road brought increased traffic, population and property values. The town incorporated and elected a mayor in 1925. In 1940 the population was approximately 740.
After World War II the city experienced major increases in population, which stood at approximately 1,300 by 1950. Throughout the 1950s the city continued to see growth including the opening of the Collins Radio Richardson office, Central Expressway, a police department, shopping centers, and many homes. Texas Instruments opened its offices in Dallas on the southern border of Richardson in 1956. This was followed by significant gains in land values, population, and economic status. In the 1960s Richardson experienced additional growth including several new parks, facilities, and the creation of the University of Texas at Dallas within the city limits. By 1972 the population was approximately 56,000. Residential growth continued through the 1970s and slowed in the 1980s. Commercial development increased throughout the 1980s. Richardson had a population of 74,840 according to the 1990 census. Population increases throughout the 1990s were primarily from development of the northeast part of the city. The city of Buckingham, after being completely surrounded by Richardson, was annexed into the city in 1996.
Richardson had a population of 91,802 as of the 2000 census. By 2002 Richardson had four Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) light rail stations and had built the and the adjacent Galatyn Park urban center, which has a 2-acre public pedestrian plaza, a luxury hotel, and mixed-use development. Richardson was a “dry city” with no alcohol sales until November 2006, when the local option election passed to allow the sale of beer and wine in grocery and convenience stores. In the fall of 2008 Peter Perfect, a television show, came to Richardson. The business-makeover show remodeled SpiritWear, an apparel and embroidery store in the city’s historic downtown area. The episode first aired on January 22, 2009. It was the first episode of the series to be filmed outside of California.
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