Historic Downtown Water Tower
Where we started. The History of Rowlett, Texas
Daniel Rowlett and a small immigrant company of several families left Tennessee for Texas in late 1835. They settled in the Tulip Bend area of the Red River near present day Bonham. For military service performed during the Texas revolution he earned a land grant located in Collin County, near present day Allen. A large creek ran through the land and came to be known as Rowlett's Creek. Daniel Rowlett became a leading citizen of Fannin County and never lived near the creek that bore his name. Mr. Rowlett is buried in the "Old Inglish Cemetery" in Bonham.
The area now known as Rowlett was divided between two immigration companies: The W.S. Peters Colony and the Charles Mercer Colony. The Peters land was west of Rowlett Road. The Mercer Colony, while generally south of Peters, held a strip of eastern Dallas County east of Rowlett Road. American settlers began moving into this area in the 1840's. Dallas County was organized in 1846. French and German speaking settlers began arriving in Texas as early as 1844. They started colonies in central Texas before moving to the north in the 1850's.
The first post office was opened on April 5, 1880 and was named Morris for Postmaster Austin Morris. The name was later changed to Rowlett, recognizing Rowlett Creek, a major tributary of the east fork of the Trinity River. Railroads began to spread westward after the Civil War bringing new waves of settlers. The roots of many Texas towns were a railroad and a cotton gin. The Greenville & Dallas Railroad reached Rowlett in 1889. By the turn of the century, Rowlett was a thriving farm community, with many stores and services along with a school and churches.
In 1921 the Bankhead Highway, the second transcontinental paved highway in America, reached Rowlett. It ran from Washington D.C. to San Diego. The City of Rowlett was incorporated in 1952 by a vote of 84 citizens. The main industry in Rowlett was cotton. Today, two cotton gins still stand and serve other uses.
In the 1960's Interstate Highway 30 was built providing a more direct route to Dallas, bypassing Rowlett. The Lake Ray Hubbard Reservoir, which offers Rowlett more than 30 miles of shoreline now, was completed in 1971 making Rowlett a lakefront community. This lake is owned by the City of Dallas and serves as one of their sources of drinking water. Recreational activities are popular on the lake. With the interstate nearby and the lake on our land, growth became inevitable. Rowlett went from a population of 5,100 in 1978, to approximately 56,000 today.
Many of the founding fathers of Rowlett have descendants here and Rowlett can truly be called a city that was and is built by family, friends and community. Step inside for a visit - you'll feel right at home.
What does Rowlett look like today?
Rowlett is home to approximately 55,000 residents and is nestled on the shores of Lake Ray Hubbard in far east Dallas County and a portion of west Rockwall County.
Rowlett has more than 30 miles of shoreline on the lake, making it one of the most beautiful places to live in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.
Rowlett is undergoing major change with the construction of the President George Bush Turnpike (PGBT) Eastern Extension and the DART Blue Line Light Rail extension from Garland.
The turnpike extension is a $1.2 billion, 9.9 mile extension of the President George Bush Turnpike which will connect SH 78 in Garland at Firewheel Town Center to IH-30 east of Bass Pro in Garland. The majority of the new turnpike traverses Rowlett and will provide a super economic engine for the City's development and growth. The turnpike extension opened to traffic in December of 2011.
The DART Blue Line extension is a 4.4 mile light rail track that connects downtown Rowlett with the Blue Line terminus in downtown Garland and on to downtown Dallas. This project opened in December, 2012.