|Grand Prairie is located at 32°42'55''N, 97°1'1''W (32.715266, -97.016864).|
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 81.5 square miles (211.2 km²), of which, 71.4 square miles (184.9 km²) of it is land and 10.1 square miles (26.3 km²) of it (12.44%) is water.
The West Fork of the Trinity River and a major tributary, Johnson Creek, flow through Grand Prairie.
Grand Prairie is a city in Dallas, Ellis, and Tarrant Counties in the U.S. state of Texas and is a part of the Mid-Cities region in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. The population was 127,427 at the 2000 census. Grand Prairie is one of the fastest growing cities in the United States.
Incorporated as "Grand Prairie" in 1909, the community was first recognized as Dechman in 1863.
From his home in Birdville, Alexander McRae Dechman learned he could trade his oxen and wagons for land in Dallas County. In 1863, he bought 239½ acres on the east side of the Trinity River and 100 acres of timber land on the west side of the river for a broken down wagon, oxen team and US$200 in Confederate money. He tried to establish a home on the property, but ran into difficulties, so returned his family to Birdville before joining the Civil War. In 1876 he filed a town plat consisting of 50 acres with Dallas County.
After the war, he returned to Birdville for two years before selling that farm in 1867 and moving to Houston, where Yellow Fever broke out causing the family to settle in Bryan.
In 1876, Dechman traded half his "prairie" property to T&P Railroad to ensure the railroad came through the town. The railroad named the depot "Dechman" prompting its namesake to relocated his home from Bryan to Dechman. His son Alexander had been living in Dechman and operating a trading post and farm.
The post office was opened in 1877 under the name "Deckman" rather than "Dechman" because the U.S. Post Office couldn't read the writing on the form completed to open the post office.
The name of the town changed to Grand Prairie later in 1877. Legend has it that the town was renamed after a famous actress stepped off the train and exclaimed "My, what a grand prairie!" Dechman sold the remainder of his Grand Prairie land in 1890 and apparently moved to Waxahachie. He is buried in historic Greenwood Cemetery in Dallas.
Grand Prairie incorporated as a city in 1909.
Grand Prairie has a long history with the defense and aviation industry. While the present day Vought plant on Jefferson Ave is part of a small strip of the Dallas city line; it was originally in Grand Prairie. During WWII it was a North American Aviation plant that produced the P-51C Mustang variant. After the War, Vought Aircraft took over the plant. This later became LTV and then eventually returned to the Vought moniker. The plant was the production site for the F-8 Crusader and the A-7 Corsair II aircraft of the 1950-1989 time period. The Missile and Space division of LTV produced missiles such as the ScoutScout Launch Vehicle Program. and MLRS. This division was eventually sold to Lockheed Martin which continues to operate in Grand Prairie.
For a period, Grand Prairie was the North American headquarters for Aerospatial Helicopter
Lion Country Safari - In the 1970's a drive through African Wildlife amusement park was built in Grand Prairie. While quite common in the US now, this was first in the region. As one would expect it allowed the visitor to drive through and see lions, hippos, and similar animals. It also featured wildlife shows. At one point, due to flood waters from the West Fork of the Trinity River, a number of animals escaped and cause quite a stir in the city. The facility is now closed.