Richardson, one of the largest small cities in Texas, is located about fourteen miles north of downtown Dallas on Central Expressway (U.S. Highway 75). The Red Line of the DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) light rail system parallels the highway. The majority of Richardson is located in northern Dallas County with a smaller portion in southern Collin County. Encompassing slightly more than twenty-eight-square-miles, Richardson has an irregular shape, bounded on the west, northwest, and south by Dallas, by Garland on the east and south, by Plano and Murphy on the north, and Sachse on the east. Several small streams, most notably Prairie, Spring, Duck, and Cottonwood creeks, flow through the city.

Between 1841 and 1853 the land that makes up Richardson was part of the Peters Colony. In 1858 a small forerunner settlement, called Breckinridge in honor of U. S. vice president John C. Breckinridge, was established on land belonging to settler John B. Floyd, between present-day Richland College and Restland Memorial Park. Breckinridge, which consisted of a U. S. post office, a general store, a blacksmith shop, and an inn, was served by a Sawyer, Risher, and Hall stagecoach line (see RISHER AND HALL STAGE LINES). The settlement lasted until just after 1873, when the Houston and Texas Central (H&TC) Railroad bypassed it in favor of a new town, named in honor of H&TC secretary Alfred Stephen Richardson. For nominal sums, two local landowners, William J. Wheeler and Bernard Reilly, sold a combined 101 acres of land for the townsite in April 1873, but due to a deed record error, the first and subsequent maps of the town showed its size as 121 acres. Some sources have claimed that Wheeler refused to allow the town to be named for him, but this story is apocryphal. On June 23, 1873, the railroad trustees who purchased the townsite on the railroad’s behalf dedicated a right-of-way through Richardson to the H&TC. The following year they sold the townsite to the railroad for the same price they had paid for the land. Soon after, the first town lot was sold. That same year, a school called the Patrons Institute, also known as the Wheeler School, was built just outside the town limits.

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Lisa C. Maxwell, Steven R. Butler | © TSHA

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Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

Belongs to

Richardson is part of or belongs to the following places:

Currently Exists


Place type

Richardson is classified as a Town

Associated Names

  • (Breckinridge)


Latitude: 32.97156340
Longitude: -96.70953700

Has Post Office


Is Incorporated


Population Count, 2021 View more »


Place Type Population (Year/Source) Currently Exists
College or University Yes

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