Farmers Branch, A Pictorial History
Revised Edition
Carrollton & Farmers Branch

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Updated pictorial history book documents Farmers Branch's changes


Special contributor
Published: 26 July 2013 08:11 AM

A Farmers Branch pictorial history book set for publication this September is more than a record of the community; it is also a community effort.

Staff of the Farmers Branch Historical Park worked for years to gather content; the Farmers Branch Woman’s Club gave money; and longtime Farmers Branch residents shared treasured photos and memories for the book.

“It’s just neat that given that opportunity how willing everybody was to share part of their history that makes up the community,” said Derrick Birdsall, superintendent of Farmers Branch Historical Park.

The book, Farmers Branch, Texas: A History in Pictures, which is available for preorder and costs $50, is an update of Farmers Branch, Texas: A Pictorial History.

Birdsall said the first book, published in 1996, was all but sold out by the time he began working for the park in 1999. Interest has remained high, he said, and a few years ago the Farmers Branch Woman’s Club presented the park with a grant to help fund an update.

The new book includes a few of the photos from the first book, but with many additions and full color, instead of the first book’s black-and-white pages.

“It certainly brings things a little more to life, I think,” Birdsall said.

A yearbook of the city

The new book covers Farmers Branch history from the 1840s to present day, Birdsall said. This includes information about recent city projects and a listing of city parks. The book also contains special sections such as a “Then and Now” portion comparing old photographs to new ones of the same places today.

“It’s sort of a yearbook of the city,” said Jamie Rigsby, curator of Farmers Branch Historical Park.

In particular, the book highlights Farmers Branch residents.

“These people might not have been famous, but their lives had real texture,” Rigsby said. “I hope that comes through in the book.”

The pictures in the book come from the park’s files and the personal collections of community members, some of whom also helped put names to faces in the historical images.

“It’s been a project that the Historical Park has done, for sure, but certainly we couldn’t have done it without the help of the community, there’s no way,” Birdsall said. “It’s definitely been a community project, and it’ll be neat to give it back.”

Sharing Farmers Branch

George Dennis Jr. is among those who contributed photos to the project. Born in the Gilbert House, now part of the Farmers Branch Historical Park, Dennis, 89, has lived in Farmers Branch nearly all his life and is part of one of its historic families.

He said his parents had a value for family history that they passed down to him. Now, he values his family’s heritage and many old photographs that tell stories of his family through the years. He also treasures his hometown, where he chose to live, “because of the people.”

“Everybody helped everybody,” he said.

He remembers, as a child, watching neighbors help one another through the Great Depression.

“That kind of stuck with me,” he said.

Dennis’ first cousin, Harold Wayne Dennis, 82, of Carrollton, who also provided photos for the project, also remembers that same community closeness.

“If you ran into any kind of trouble, there was always somebody there to help you,” he said.

Harold Dennis, who was born where Brookhaven Country Club in Farmers Branch is now located and spent almost his entire life in or near the community, remembers a Farmers Branch that was little more than a few shops and houses surrounded by farms. He remembers the old downtown where he and other children loved to pay visits to Mrs. Corbitt’s grocery store for candy and cold drinks, which they would put on their parents’ charge accounts, or play on the steps of the depot, located next to his grandfather’s blacksmith shop.

“It’s just old memories like that that make Farmers Branch special,” he said.

The community’s size and intimacy made it hard to get away with mischief, said Sharon Marsh Cozart, 68, whose family has been in the area since 1844. Residents didn’t hesitate to check behavior in other people’s children, and reports of their actions traveled fast.

“You were in trouble there and you were in trouble again by the time you got home,” Cozart said.

Cozart shared some of her cherished family photographs for Farmers Branch, Texas: A History in Pictures. She said she hopes it will show readers what a good community Farmers Branch is.

“And that they ought to be proud of it and want to take care of it and support it,” she said.


What: Full-color volume including more than 500 historical photographs and city information

Cost: $50

To reserve a copy, visit For more information, call 972-406-0184


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