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The city of Denton is the county seat of Denton County, Texasmarker in the United States. Its population was 119,454 according to the 2008 U.S. Census Bureau estimate, making it the eleventh largest city in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Geographically, it is situated south of the Oklahoma–Texas border and northwest of Dallas.

Frequently considered a college town, Denton is home to two state universities, the University of North Texasmarker, the largest university in North Texas, and Texas Woman's University, a historically single-sex college completely co-ed since 1994. Altogether, over 45,000 students participate in courses at the two universities.

A Texas land grant led to the formation of Denton County in 1846, and the city in 1857. Both were named after pioneer and Texas militia captain John B. Denton. The establishment of the two universities helped distinguish the city from neighboring regions. As a result, educational services, as well as retail trade, play the largest roles in the Denton's economy. The town is known for its active music life, which Paste magazine named America's "Best Music Scene" in 2008. The annual North Texas State Fair and Rodeo and the Denton Arts and Jazz Festival are major events that attract over 300,000 people. Denton has seen considerable growth in recent years and in 2006, Money magazine named Denton No. 58 out of the "Top 100 Best Places to Live in America."


Map of the city 1883
The formation of Denton is closely tied with that of Denton County. Unlike other neighboring cities in North Texas, there is no record of a large native-American population in the area before 1800. European settlement began in mid-1800s when William S. Peters of Kentucky obtained a land grant from the Texas Congress and named it Peters Colony. After initial settlement in the southeast area in 1843, the Texas legislature voted to form Denton County in 1846. Residents chose two different county seats (Pinckneyville and Alton) before voting on Denton as the final county seat in 1857. Like the county, the town was named in honor of John B. Denton, a preacher and lawyer, who was killed in a 1841 battle led by General Edward H. Tarrant against Keechi Indians. A commission composed of Otis G. Welch and others plotted the city and named the first streets in 1857. Denton was not incorporated until 1866 when J.B. Sawyer was elected as the first mayor.

The city expanded greatly as it became a strong agricultural trade center and manufacturing destination for mills and cottage industries. The creation of the Texas and Pacific Railway in 1881 gave Denton its first rail outlet, and brought an influx of people to the area. Despite this, it did not develop into a strong manufacturing location, instead relying on agricultural workforces. It became a college town when North Texas Normal Collegemarker (now the University of North Texas) was established in 1890 and the Girls' Industrial College (now Texas Woman's University) in 1903. As the universities increased in size, their impact on Denton's economy and culture also grew.

Considered at one time to be the cultural epicenter of Denton, the area surrounding Fry Street was home to a group of shops, music venues, and restaurants. Many of the buildings were originally constructed in the 1920s. From 1914 to 1959, Denton was governed under a mayor-city commission form of government, but a new charter adopted in the latter year switched the city to a council-manager form of government.

Denton grew rapidly from a population of 26,844 in 1960, to 1980 when it reached 48,063. Its proximity to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, directly connected via Interstate 35, played a major role. The 1974 opening of the DFW International Airport led to a small spurt in population. Older manufacturing firms with significant employment such as Moore's Business Forms and Morrison Milling Company were joined by heavy manufacturing companies like Victor Equipment Company in the mid-1960s and Peterbilt in 1980, and led to increased local employment. The population jumped from 66,270 in 1990 to 80,537 in 2000.

In May 2006, the 100-block of the historic Fry Street area was purchased by United Equities, a Houston-based real estate company, which announced that several of the historic buildings would be demolished to accommodate a new mixed-use center. Known as Fry Street Village, the center would include retail stores and restaurants. The proposal polarized the city, and a grass roots effort by the non-profit organization Save Fry Street began soon thereafter. It sought to preserve Fry Street as a historic and cultural icon for the city. Development stalled in 2008, when the city council rejected a permit that would allow for the construction of a drive-thru CVS Pharmacy, the anchor for the project. As of late 2009, the project is on hold.


Geographically, Denton is located on the northern edge of the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area at the intersection of I-35 and U.S. Highways 380, 377 and 77. It is also here that I-35 splits into I-35E and I-35W to reach Dallas and Fort Worth, respectively. These three cities form the area known as the "Golden Triangle of North Texas." Lake Lewisvillemarker, a fishing destination named the "Urban Bass Fishing Capital of Texas", is located south of the city.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 62.3 square miles (161.4 km²), of which, 61.5 square miles (159.3 km²) of it is land and 0.8 square miles (2.1 km²) of it (1.33%) is water. The land lies in the northeast edge of the Bend Arch-Fort Worth Basin, which is characterized by flat terrain. Elevation ranges from . Underneath the city is a portion of the Barnett Shale, a geological formation believed to contain large quantities of natural gas.


With its hot, humid summers and cool winters, the climate of Denton is characterized as humid subtropical. Dry winds reach the area in the summer and can bring temperatures to , although the average summer temperature is in the mid-90s. The coolest month is January with temperatures dropping down to a average minimum of . Average snowfall in Denton is similar to the Dallas-Fort Worth average of 2.4 per year. Denton lies on the bottom end of the Tornado Alley area. Although tornadoes rarely form, tornado watches are issued by the National Weather Service. Flash floods and severe thunderstorms are frequent occurrences during the months of spring.

The city's all-time high temperature is , recorded in 1954, while the all-time recorded low is . Denton receives approximately of rain per year.


Map of median family income in Denton County (1999)
Population trend
Year Population
1950 21,345
1960 26,844
1970 39,874
1980 48,063
1990 66,270
2000 82,976
Denton has a population of 119,454 according to July 2008 population estimates, making it the 207th largest city in the U.S. and the 23rd largest in Texas. Along with the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, it has grown steadily in recent years, becoming the tenth fastest-growing city over 100,000 from July 2006 to July 2007.

As of the 2000 census, there were 80,537 residents, known as "Dentonites", 30,895 households, and 16,405 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,309.7 people per square mile (505.7/km²). There were 32,716 housing units at an average density of 532.0/sq mi (205.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 75.62% White, 9.12% African American, 3.39% Asian, 0.58% Native American, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 8.85% from other races, and 2.40% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race comprised 16.38% of the population.

There were 30,895 households out of which 26.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.8% were married couples living together, 9.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 46.9% were non-families. 31.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 3.06. In the city, the population consists of 20.7% under the age of 18, 25.0% from 18 to 24, 30.8% from 25 to 44, 15.7% from 45 to 64, and 7.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 27 years. For every 100 females there were 96.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.4 males.

The median income for a household was $35,422, and the median income for a family was $51,419. Males had a median income of $33,698 versus $26,037 for females. The per capita income was $19,365. About 8.7% of families and 16.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.1% of those under age 18 and 7.0% of those age 65 or over.


Major employers (2008)
# Employer # of Employees
1 University of North Texasmarker 7,351
2 Denton Independent School District 3,113
3 Texas Woman’s University 1,586
4 Denton Countymarker 1,523
5 Peterbilt Motors 1,500

The economy of Denton is primarily composed of educational services, health and social services, manufacturing and general retail trade. Organizations in these sectors employ over 20,000 people. Wholesale trade and hospitality jobs also play major roles. The city employs more than 1,300 people, 300 of whom are public safety personnel. The three educational institutions, University of North Texasmarker, Denton Independent School District, and Texas Woman's University, are the largest employers, providing more than 12,000 jobs. Notable businesses headquartered in Denton include truck manufacturer Peterbilt, beauty supplier Sally Beauty Company, and jewelry producer Jostens. The Golden Triangle Mall, the city's largest shopping complex with over 90 specialty shops, is a major source of retail trade.

Culture and recreation

The Courthouse Square Historic District prominently features the Courthouse-on-the-Squaremarker, which now serves as a museum showcasing area history and culture. Listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, this former county courthouse was restored in time for the Texas Sesquicentennial in 1986. The positive response to the renovation sparked a downtown revitalization program that generated new jobs and reinvestment capital. Bordered by Pecan, Austin, Walnut, and Cedar streets, the downtown square is surrounded by many shops and restaurants, some of which have been in business since the 1940s.

Festivals and activities

Denton is home to several annual fairs and events that cater to both residents and tourists. The largest of these is the city-sponsored Denton Arts and Jazz Festival, which attracts over 200,000 people each year for live music, food, crafts, and recreation at the Civic Center Park. Bands such as Tower of Power, Brave Combo and Arturo Sandoval have performed at the festival, as well as University of North Texas jazz groups.

The annual North Texas State Fair and Rodeo started in 1928, and promotes the cowboy-culture of Texas. Besides the rodeo, the event features several local country-rock performances, pageants and food contests. This fair brings in over 150,000 people during its average 9 day run. The North Texas State Fairgrounds has hosted the carnival since 1948.

Every year as part of the Denton Holiday Lighting Festival, the downtown square is adorned with lights and spotlighted with live music by Grammy award-winner Brave Combo. The Denton Air Fair, a nonprofit group, has hosted the annual Denton Airshow since 1998. The family event, which attracts 9,000 attendees, has aerial demonstrations and airplane exhibits. As the "Redbud Capital of Texas", Denton hosts a free Redbud Festival. Lesser known events include the Fiesta on the Square, and Thin Line Documentary Film Fest. Discontinued in 2007, the Fry Street Fair was held near the University of North Texas campus and featured live music performances. The event was held annually since 1979 but was shut down due to costs and security concerns. Attendance reached 20,000 in its peak year.


The lively music culture in Denton originated in the University of North Texasmarker's College of Music, a institution recognized in the United States. The college's Jazz Studies program, established in 1947, was the first of its kind in the country. In more recent years, the college's Center for Experimental Music and Intermedia (CEMI) has developed its reputation as a center for music research and creation.

The local independent music scene has emerged alongside Denton's academic music establishments. Brave Combo, a Grammy award-winning polka band based in Denton, plays frequent shows in local festivals. Several notable bands and performers have attended the University of North Texas and signed to major label, including Eli Young Band, Bowling for Soup and Norah Jones. The local bars and recording studios on the historic Fry Street district and town square are host to other local performers.

The city's live music venues are largely supported by Denton's college town atmosphere, although show attendance is often partly composed of Dallas/Ft.Worth music listeners. As a result of this expanded fanbase, the weekly alternative newspaper, Dallas Observer, began a column on Denton's local music. In 2007 and 2008, Denton's music scene received feature attention from The Guardian, Pop Matters, and The New York Times. Paste Magazine named Denton the best music scene in the United States in 2008. In recent years, Denton's music scene has been compared to Austin, Texasmarker, which itself is nicknamed the "live music capital of the world". There are a number of local music venues and commercial recording studios, including Hailey's Club, Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios and Dan's Silverleaf.


Texas Woman's University and University of North Texasmarker field a variety of college teams as members of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Fouts Fieldmarker is host to UNT football games and can seat 30,000 people. The local high schools have large athletics programs which draw attendance from the general public, especially for high school football games.

City sports clubs include a rugby and baseball team. The Denton Rugby Football Club was formed in 1979 after the folding of the North Texas State University Rugby Club. As part of the Texas Rugby Union, the club has seen some success over the past few years, including winning the Texas Rugby Union Championship, Western Rugby Union Championship, and playing in the National Quarterfinals in Reno, Nevada in 2004. The city is also home to the Denton Outlaws baseball team, a former member of the Texas Collegiate League.


Denton County Courts Building
The city is the county seat of Denton Countymarker and is operated under a council-manager form of government. Denton is represented by a mayor, four council members, two at-large members and an appointed city manager. Elections are held yearly during the month of May with terms lasting for two years, with a maximum of three consecutive terms. The current mayor is Mark Burroughs. Denton is in the U.S. House 26th Congressional district, and is represented by Representative Michael C. Burgess. In the Texas Legislature, the city is in the 30th District in the Texas Senate, represented by Republican Craig Estes. It is in the 64th District in the Texas House of Representatives, having been served by Republican Myra Crownover since 2000. Most Texasmarker state agencies also have facilities in the city, the larger of which include a Texas Workforce Center, a driver license/highway patrol office, a state school and Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Region VI headquarters.
2009 Denton City Council
Mayor Mark Burroughs
Council member for District 1 Charlye Heggins
Council member for District 2 Dalton Gregory
Council member for District 3 Jim Englebrecht
Council member for District 4 Chris Watts
Mayor pro tem (at-large) Pete Kamp
Council member (at-large) Joe Mulroy


According to the 2000 United States Census, 35.5% of all adults over the age of 25 in Denton have obtained a bachelor's degree, as compared to a national average of 24.4%, and 83.2% of residents over the age of 25 have earned a high school diploma, as compared to the national average of 80.4%.

Colleges and universities

The University of North Texasmarker (UNT) in Denton is the flagship university of the University of North Texas System, which also includes the UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth, the University of North Texas at Dallas and the soon to be established UNT School of Law. With an enrollment of over 36,000 students, it is the fourth-largest university in the state. The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Its College of Musicmarker became nationally recognized for the study in jazz after becoming the first school to offer a degree in that field.

Texas Woman's University (TWU) is a university with two health science center branches in Dallas, Texas and Houston, Texas. Founded in 1901, the university enrolls more than 13,000 undergraduates and graduates. Men have been admitted to TWU since 1972. In addition to being the largest state-supported university for women in the United States, TWU’s College of Nursing is the largest in Texas and the 11th largest in the U.S. TWU’s nursing doctoral program is the largest in the world.

North Central Texas College, a community college in nearby Corinthmarker, is also attended by many Denton students.

Primary and secondary schools

The Denton Independent School District (DISD) covers the educational system for the city, which consists of three high schools, one alternative high school, and primary schools comprising over 25,000 students. Small portions of the city extend into the neighboring school districts of Argyle and Sanger. Denton is host to several private schools with religious affiliations and alternative education models. Denton State School, established in 1960, is the largest residential facility for people with developmental disabilities in Texas. The center serves an 18-county area and approximately 1,500 people work at the state-supported living center.


Denton is served by the Denton Public Library, which has three branches: Emily Fowler Central Library, North Branch Library, and South Branch Library. In addition to the city library services, the school libraries of the University of North Texas and Texas Woman's University provide access to their materials to Texas residents with a TexShare card.


Since 1899, the Denton Record-Chronicle has been the official daily newspaper of Denton and Denton County. When it was acquired by Belo Corporation in 1999, the newspaper had a circulation of 16,000. The North Texas Daily and The Lasso provide daily and weekly college news to students at the University of North Texas and Texas Woman's University.

The city's public television station, Denton TV (DTV), covers city council meetings, restaurant scores, high school football and educational programming. UNT's station, NTTV, is broadcast 24 hours a day on local channels provided by Charter Communications and Verizon FiOS. NTTV Nightly News is broadcast live Monday through Thursday. KNTUmarker 88.1 FM is UNT's official radio station. First aired in 1969, the station primarily plays a mixture of jazz and blues and covers local sports and news.



Denton is served by the Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA) which operates express coach service to downtown Dallasmarker and Lewisvillemarker along with local fixed route and paratransit service throughout the city. In 2013 the Downtown Denton Transit Center and Medpark Station will open as commuter rail stations on DCTA's A-train. DCTA also operates local bus service within the city and special university shuttles. Paratransit service for senior citizens and/or people with disabilities of all ages is offered by Special Programs for Aging Needs (SPAN), a non-profit organization.

Interstate 35 splits in Denton near the North Texas campus, with 35E heading to Dallas and 35W to Fort Worth. Loop 288 partially encircles the city; it passes through the northern limits of the city by C.marker H.marker Collins Athletic Complexmarker and the eastern side near Golden Triangle Mall. Highway 77 and 377 go through the historic town square and Highway 380 connects Denton to Friscomarker in the east and Decaturmarker on the west.

Denton Municipal Airportmarker is a public airport located west of the central business district (CBD) of Denton. This airport serves as home to various cargo and charter operators as well as two flight schools. A new terminal opened in 2008, but as of June 2008 no scheduled commuter service is in place.

Health care

The city's health-care system is primarily provided by two hospitals. Denton Regional Medical Center is a full service hospital operated by Hospital Corporation of America and is located southeast of downtown Denton. Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Denton (formerly Denton Community Hospital) is the other full-service hospital, located on the southern end. Each employ more than 800 employees and are licensed with more than 200 beds and emergency services.


Electricity is administered by Denton Municipal Electricity. Since 1905, the company has been community owned by the city of Denton. The City of Denton Water Utilities Department serves the city's water demand and natural gas is arranged by Atmos Energy. Numerous initiatives are underway to maintain and improve the environmental quality in the area. Charter Communications and Verizon provide the majority of cable, phone and Internet services.

Notable natives and residents

Denton's position as a cultural and educational center for the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex has resulted in many notable people having resided in the city, either natively or through attendance at the local universities. As a city with a recognized music program in the University of North Texas, many of the notable residents have a background in music. Singers and bands from UNT that have achieved critical acclaim in the form of Grammy nominations or awards include Norah Jones and Brave Combo. The Eli Young Band, Bowling for Soup and Don Henley have been signed on to major labels. A number of people born in Denton have careers in the arts and entertainment business such as former Miss America Phyllis George, journalist Christopher Largen, and pin-up girl Ann Sheridan.

Sister cities

Denton is a part of the Sister Cities International program and maintains cultural and economic exchange programs with its sister cities.


  1. 2007–08 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. p. 109


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