Lewisville is a city in Denton County, Texas, United States. The 2000 United States Census placed the city's population at 77,737 and the 2010 Census stated its population as 95,290, making it one of the fastest growing city populations in the United States. It occupies of land and of Lewisville Lake.
Originally called Holford's Prairie, the origins of Lewisville date back to the early 1840s. The arrival of the town's first railroad in 1881 engendered its initial growth, and the expansion of the area's transportation infrastructure spurred further development in the early part of the 20th century. The city incorporated in 1925. When construction of Lewisville Lake was completed in the 1950s, the city began to expand rapidly.
Lewisville's consistently warm climate and proximity to Lewisville Lake has made it a recreational hub of the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex. The city's municipal government, led by a nonpartisan city council, focuses its recreational and cultural investments on facilities such as Toyota of Lewisville Park and the MCL Grand Theater. The city's transportation infrastructure has evolved around the I-35 Corridor along Interstate 35E. Lewisville Independent School District provides most of the area's public education programs. The diversity of its population and industry has created a stable economic climate.
In 1841, the Republic of Texas chartered the Peters Colony Land Grant Company (named for William Smalling Peters, publisher of the song "Oh! Susanna") to settle the North Texas area. In 1844, John W. King and his wife settled on the east side of the prairie, where the city now lies. Baptist settlers from Platte County, Missouri, settled on the west side; among them were John and James Holford, who named the area Holford's Prairie. Further south, Presbyterians established a church and called it Flower Mound. In the confusion over land ownership after the Hedgcoxe War, Basdeal Lewis purchased Holford's Prairie in 1853 and renamed it after himself.
In 1845, the Fox family, which owned about a dozen slaves, buried a slave child called Melinda on the family farm, which eventually became the town's cemetery for black residents. Named Fox–Hembry Cemetery, the plot still exists today. In 2011, after it had fallen into disrepair, local residents and businesses gathered to restore it. Though Abraham Lincoln was not on the ballot in the area for the 1860 Presidential election, residents of Lewisville (listed as "Hollforts" on election results) still gave John C. Breckinridge only a 44–31 majority over a fusion option.
During Reconstruction, Lewisville became home to Denton County's first cotton gin, built in 1867. It could produce up to three bales per day. The Thirteenth Texas Legislature chartered the Dallas and Wichita Railroad (later the Missouri–Kansas–Texas) on terms requiring 20 miles of track to be in running order by July 1, 1875. Lewisville paid the company $15,000 to come to the city, with a promise of another $5,000 on completion. The company fulfilled the deal by completing the railroad tracks to a point just south of Lewisville on the morning of the deadline. The line began running full-time in 1881. Republicans in the Fourteenth Texas Legislature passed a law on April 30, 1874, prohibiting alcohol within two miles of the town. Many residents ignored the law, however, and the city retained as many as 17 saloons at one point. The population of the unincorporated town was 500 in 1888.
From 1920 to 1930, Lewisville's population increased from 815 to 853, making it the fourth most populous town in Denton County (behind Denton, Sanger, and Pilot Point). On January 15, 1925, residents voted by a margin of 17 votes to incorporate the area as a city, establishing its official boundaries.
Because the city's economy had become diversified before the Wall Street Crash of 1929, Lewisville was fairly well insulated from the Great Depression. Many residents, including business leaders, nevertheless supported the New Deal programs of Franklin D. Roosevelt. By 1936, the Works Progress Administration operated a cannery in the city to provide temporary jobs for unemployed residents. As an extension of the Good Roads Movement, which had been prominent in Denton County since the early 1910s, residents formed the Good Roads Committee of Lewisville to lobby state and federal officials for funding to create better streets. Lewisville celebrated the paving of the highway between Denton and Dallas in 1931 with a "Coming Out of the Mud" ceremony. The new pavement closed the "Lewisville Gap" between the two cities, a stretch of dirt roads that had often become too muddy for travel.
The new road also led indirectly to the downfall of the area's public transportation system. Between 1925 and 1932, the Texas Interurban Railway, an electric commuter rail service, ran from Dallas to Denton and operated a station in Lewisville. Business leaders in the Lewisville Chamber of Commerce welcomed the service at the time, proudly citing the city's progressive citizenship. The area's low population density could not sustain the venture, however. In 1932, the line went out of business and immediately halted service.
On April 25, 1934, Raymond Hamilton of the Barrow Gang robbed the First National Bank of Lewisville. Residents chased him to Howe, Texas, where he was captured at a roadblock and transferred to Dallas County Jail.
Lewisville's rapid growth began when construction of the Garza–Little Elm Dam finished in 1954. The dam expanded the Garza–Little Elm Reservoir into the what is now Lewisville Lake. The city adopted a home rule charter for a council–manager style of municipal government in 1963, becoming one of only a few home rule cities in Texas with a population of less than 5,000. In September 1969, 13 days after Woodstock, the city hosted the Texas International Pop Festival, which drew over 150,000 spectators and featured performances by Janis Joplin, B.B. King and Led Zeppelin. In 2011, the Texas Historical Commission dedicated a historical event marker at the city's Hebron A-train station to commemorate the event.
When Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport opened to the south of the city in 1974 and Vista Ridge Mall opened at the intersection of Interstate 35E and Round Grove Road in 1987, Lewisville began to undergo rapid suburban growth. The population increased from 24,273 in 1980 to 46,521 in 1990, making it the 40th most populous city in Texas. In the early 1990s, the Lewisville Chamber of Commerce marketed the city with the slogan "City of Expanding Horizons". The population reached 77,737 in 2000 and 95,290 in 2010.