As early as the mid-1800s, settlers began arriving in what is now Garland. A letter dated April 9, 1937 opens with, “The planting of the seed that developed into Garland was planted on the banks of the Duck Creek...” Originally known as Duck Creek to early settlers, a fire and a poorly located post office created a rival community named Embree. Men began carrying guns where they hadn’t before, and young people were chastised for interacting with people from the opposite encampment. After a consultation with Congressman Joe Abbott, the two towns reached a compromise with a more fairly located post office and a new name: Garland. Augustus H. Garland was something of a hero in the Reconstruction South after he fought and won the right to serve as the Attorney General for President Grover Cleveland, a privilege previously withheld from anyone associated with the Confederacy.
In the early 1900s, as more urban areas began to acquire electricity services, Garland leaders were dismayed to find that most privately owned utility enterprises were more focused on profit than working with small communities. With a loan of a small generator from the Fairbanks-Morse Company, and with the understanding that profits would pay back the company, Garland started supplying electricity to its citizens on April 1, 1923, and Garland Power and Light was
The World Wars, for all their destruction, were a boom for small and still primarily agricultural Garland. Companies
like Luscombe rushed to build manufacturing facilities, bringing with them revenue and a growing population.
Today, Garland is one of the largest manufacturing cities in the state of Texas with more than
300 manufacturers. The latter part of the twentieth century solidified Garland’s place as a cultural center in North
Texas. The Garland Landmark Society, dedicated to preserving and promoting Garland history, was formed in 1972
and still runs today.
In 1983 the Garland Performing Arts Center, now known as the Granville Arts Center, made
Garland the first Dallas suburb with its own arts center, home to the Garland Summer Musicals, Garland Civic Theatre
and Garland Symphony Orchestra.
In the 21st century Garland’s population growth has slowed as undeveloped land becomes more scarce and Garland approaches buildout. According to the Census Bureau's 2015 American Community Survey, the City of Garland ranks 12th in population in Texas and 91st in the country with an estimated population of 237,000 people.