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Dallas Street Alignment

Posted by M C Toyer 
Dallas Street Alignment
April 04, 2018 12:29AM
The irregular alignment of Dallas streets is due primarily to the original land surveys. Warren A Ferris was the surveyor for Nacogdoches County from which the portion of Dallas county east of the Trinity River was created. He completed a number of surveys in 1840 and 1841.

By law surveys lying on navigable water courses shall front one half of the square on the water, the line running at right angles with the general course of the stream. The Ferris surveys are aligned 45 degrees east of due north.

W H Thomas, surveyor for Robertson County, from which the portion of Dallas county west of the Trinity River was created aligned his surveys 60 degrees east of due north.

John Neely Bryan made a crude survey first but James P Dumas made the official survey of the town of Dallas with the streets at right angles to the river where the town was located and these are aligned a approximately 75 degrees east of due north.

When the Peters Colony began their surveys in 1842 they used the federal land survey system with the alignment on a true north-south axis for the rest of the county. Other surveys were irregular shaped to fill in between existing surveys and/or water courses.

As roads developed In both rural areas and within subdivided and improved properties the subdivision and street alignment for the most part were the same as the original surveys.

The irregular street alignments and intersections are primarily due to the differing angles where original surveys adjoin.

This 1884 General Land Office map shows some of the original surveys in east central Dallas County. The majority are the 640 and 320 acre surveys of the Peters Colony and other 3rd class headrights. The larger surveys were made for 1st and 2nd class headright grants which range up to 4605 acres.

1884 Map

This map by Homer DeGolyer shows just the W A Ferris surveys with some of the modern streets.

1840-41 Ferris Surveys

Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 04/04/2018 12:53AM by M C Toyer.
Re: Dallas Street Alignment
April 04, 2018 01:50AM
This map shows the town of Dallas as new development expanded Bryan's original townsite.

The map is oriented approximately 75 degrees east of due north. The diagonal red line is the boundary between Bryan's survey and the Grigsby survey. The yellow vertical line was originally Burleson but renamed Pacific Avenue when the Texas and Pacific Railroad was laid directly on it in 1873.

The streets south of and including Burleson continued on Bryan's original alignment into the Grigsby survey. The streets north of Burleson aligned to the Grigsby survey creating those 30 degree angled intersections at Pacific and Bryan, Pacific and Live Oak, etc.

New Town

Most are familiar with Sam Street's 1900 Map of Dallas County which he created by overlaying a GLO map of original surveys with wagon roads, the residents of owner occupied homes, and various features including tenant houses, churches, mills, stores and cemeteries. This map is a tracing of just the rural wagon roads which reflects their alignment, for the most part, with the outer lines of the surveyed properties.

1900 Wagon Roads

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 04/04/2018 08:11PM by M C Toyer.
Re: Dallas Street Alignment
April 04, 2018 08:46AM
Thank you MC. I figured you could make better sense of the situation than I could or did. Perhaps my muddled description is straightened out now, and I apologize if I created confusion for anyone.

Dave McNeely
Re: Dallas Street Alignment
April 05, 2018 05:08PM
Hi MC,
I hope you are doing well. We sure miss having you as an active participant on facebook. Henry C Long has been so helpful. Peter Kurilecz has linked to this post from Historic Maps of Dallas/ facebook group. Your description is so succinct about the Land Grant surveys, I wish you would post it. Or you would give your permission to do a cut and paste with you as the source. Miss You, Teann Nash

resident of Bluffview in Dallas Texas
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