|City of DeSoto|
|Motto: "Live, Work, Play in DeSoto"|
DeSoto is a city in Dallas County, Texas, in the United States. As of the2010 census it had a population of 51,102.
DeSoto is a suburb of Dallas and is part of the Best Southwest area, which includes DeSoto, Cedar Hill, Duncanville, and Lancaster.
The area was first settled in 1847, making it one of the oldest communities in North Texas. A post office was established in 1881, and the settlement was named DeSoto in honor of Thomas Hernando DeSoto Stewart, a doctor dedicated to the community
By 1885, DeSoto was home to approximately 120 people, a cotton gin, and a general store. Soon after, the population declined to below 50. In 1930, there were 97 people living in the community and several businesses.
After World War II, DeSoto and surrounding areas began to grow. In order to improve the inadequate water distribution system, residents felt the need to incorporate the town. On February 17, 1949, a petition signed by 42 eligible voters was presented to the Dallas County judge requesting an election for incorporation. The vote took place on March 2. Of the 52 people who cast ballots, 50 voted in favor of incorporation and 2 were opposed. On March 3, 1949, the results were entered into the records of the Dallas County Commissioners Court, thereby creating the City of DeSoto. The new city was less than one square mile in size. On March 15, Wayne A. Chowning was elected mayor along with five aldermen. The first city council meeting was held two days later.
The first census conducted after DeSoto's incorporation occurred in 1950. There were 298 people and eight businesses in the city. Following a series of annexations in 1953, the city covered approximately 15 square miles (39 km2). By 1960, the population had grown to 1,969. In 1970, DeSoto was home to 6,617 people and 71 businesses.
During the 1970s, continued growth brought about improvements to the municipal infrastructure, including road construction, and a new water/sewage system. Industrial, commercial, and residential construction also increased.
On October 26, 1974, an election was held to determine the status of Woodland Hills, a small incorporated community located northwest of DeSoto. The result was 221 votes in favor of a merger with DeSoto and 219 opposed. Woodland Hills had a population of 366 at the time of annexation.
The rapid growth that began in the early 1970s was sustained throughout the 1980s. 1980 census figures put the city's population at slightly over 15,000. By 1984, DeSoto had a total of 360 businesses – up from 168 in 1980.
The population surpassed 30,000 in 1990. City development progressed in the following years. A primary example of this was the creation of DeSoto's Town Center. Officials converted an abandoned strip center located at one of the city's main intersections into a unique central business district. Since its opening, the Town Center has become an anchor of the community, housing city hall, the public library and chamber of commerce, along with civic and recreation centers. There is also a 180-seat auditorium and outdoor amphitheater.
Throughout the 1990s, DeSoto experienced a significant change in the demographic composition of the city. In the 1990 census, whites constituted 75.97% of the city's population, but that figure had declined to 48.83% in the 2000 census, and 17.4% non-Hispanic white by 2010. By contrast, the African American population grew rapidly. In 2000, African Americans were 45.53% of the population, up from 20.83% in 1990. Hispanics accounted for 4.98% of the population in 1990 and 7.30% in 2000.
With approximately 45,500 residents as of 2005, DeSoto is the largest and most diverse city in southwest Dallas County.
On June 11, 2006, the National Civic League named DeSoto an "All-America City". The All-America City Award is the nation's oldest community recognition program and recognizes communities whose citizens work together to identify and tackle community-wide challenges and achieve uncommon results.