Discover Dallas' Trinity River Corridor
The Trinity River is the longest river that is contained entirely in Texas.
In 1690, Spanish officer Alfonso de Leon was sent to raid and capture La Salle's French colony on the Texas coast. To reach the encampment, de Leon forged an unnamed river 200 miles below Dallas. He named it La Santisima Trinidad, The Most Holy Trinity.
So, religion is how the river got its name ... not for how many meandering branches combine to form it (which, by the way, are four in number, not three).
However, man's encounters with the Trinity River far preceded its 17th Century baptismal name.
Indian hunters and tribes harvested its bounty from the earliest-known times. In the 1500s, lost members of Hernando de Soto expedition stumbled upon it (the Caddo called the river Arkikosa). French traders camped on its banks and did business with friendlier tribes in the 1700s.
In 1839, explorer John Neely Bryan came to the river and was determined to establish a trading post. He found a flat piece of land below an eighteen-foot Trinity River bluff and ambitiously platted a village at that place.
Dallas was born.
Since that time, man has tried to master the Trinity River. Also religiously.
Through the years since Bryan's encampment, the Trinity River has been imagined as a:
- navigable inland port,
- source of commerce for toll bridges and ferries,
- meandering barrier too prone to floods that had to be contained, and
- convenient barricade that divided Dallas's Haves from the Have-Nots.
Today, thanks to vision of Dallas voters, the Trinity River in Dallas is envisioned as the new center of Dallas, rather than something pushed to the side.
From the City of Dallas' Trinity River Corridor Project website, you can: