Lewisville is a city in Denton County and Dallas County, Texas (USA). As of the 2000 census the city had a total population of 77,737. With strong population growth continuing into the new millennium, the city’s official web page gives a 2006 population estimate of 89,000. Lewisville is one of the older incorporated cities in the northern area of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, but it remained a small rural town with just a few thousand people as late as 1960.
The earliest white settlement in what is now Lewisville occurred in the 1840s. Basdeal Lewis purchased the land around which Lewisville would be formed and named the town after himself.
Growth was very slow during the 19th century, with population rising to only about 500 by 1900. The settlement did boast several agriculture-related industries, including a grist mill, a cotton gin, and a livery stable and feed mill. In 1885 the building currently housing the Greater Lewisville Community Theater was constructed on the city’s principal thoroughfare, Main Street. It remains Lewisville’s oldest standing structure.
Lewisville High School opened in 1897, and in 1909 the first bank robbery in Denton County history occurred at the First National Bank of Lewisville. In 1925 residents voted to incorporate the area as a city. Lewisville slowly grew with its first automobile dealership and traffic light appearing over the next two decades. Another notable bank robbery occurred in 1934 at the First National Bank, this time engineered by the Barrow gang (minus leaders Bonnie and Clyde, who had visited the city earlier that year).
Construction of the Lewisville Dam began in 1948 and concluded six years later, which expanded the Garza-Little Elm Reservoir into the current 30,000-acre Lewisville Lake. Population growth began to accelerate, and the 1970 census counted 9,264 residents. In 1963 Lewisville became one of the first Texas cities to integrate its school system, with the first two African-American graduates from Lewisville High School in 1965 and a third in 1966. In September 1969 the city hosted the Texas International Pop Festival on Labor Day weekend, with Janis Joplin, B.B. King and Led Zeppelin performing. Just four weeks after Woodstock the festival drew over 250,000 rock and jazz fans.
Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport opened in 1974, and the population of cities like Lewisville and Flower Mound, north of the airport, began to explode. The census figures tell the story: 24,273 in 1980, 46,521 in 1990, and 77,737 in 2000. Rapid growth continues, though the city has tried to maintain a small-town ambiance.
Lewisville’s growth is due in part to its proximity to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, a few miles to the city’s south. Lewisville served for a time as the corporate headquarters for Fleming Foods, the food distributor, before the company ran into financial problems and relocated. Vista Ridge Mall is an important and expanding shopping center for Lewisville and surrounding communities. Lewisville Lake borders the city to the north; Lake Grapevine is located near its southern boundary. The city is served by the Lewisville Independent School District and to a lesser extent by the Coppell Independent School District. Four private Christian schools are also located in Lewisville. Among well-known natives of the city are Walt Garrison, former Dallas Cowboys fullback, and Dave Mitchell, a radio personality of Miami and Dallas.