RichardsonKentucky and Tennessee in the 1840s. It was named after railroad contractor, E.H. Richardson, and although the center of town was near present-day Richland College, the city center moved closer to the railroad station. Rather than a steam locomotive, an electric railway connected Richardson, Denison, Waco, Corsicana and Fort Worth; Interurban Street in old downtown Richardson is a remnant of that enterprise. The red brick streets in downtown are also a reminder of Richardson’s past. By the 1950s, Richardson was a bustling town, but the population, economic status and land values really took off with the opening of Texas Instruments on its southern border. This once small town now has four Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) light rail stations and the Eisemann Center for Performing Arts. It has been featured in a television series about business-makeovers and used as a model for the setting for the TV show King of the Hill. Richardson also has a vibrant ethnic population that includes about 60 Chinese cultural organizations and the India Association of North Texas along with the main Indian-American grocery store in DFW.
|Top: Lakes near the bridge|
Bottom: Lake and play area
To serve its diverse population, Richardson has a plethora of city parks. These parks run the gambit from natural areas to athletic playgrounds, and incorporate more than 40 miles of trails and walkways. Long ago I used to take graduate students out to these parks to do water and soil sampling and to identify trees and other plants. There are two parks in Richardson that I really like. Cottonwood Park (Cottonwood and Belt Line) has about 25 acres that are used for various purposes. I particularly enjoy the two lakes with their feathered visitors and the just over a mile long trail. In the spring this park is home to an art festival that draws artists and craftspeople from Texas and beyond. Wandering among these gifted artisans is a great way to spend a spring day outdoors.
For relaxing, eating lunch and watching all sorts of critters, I like Prairie Creek Park (Prairie
Creek West and Campbell). This
park is about 37 acres along a small creek that meanders through some nice
housing areas. It’s a peaceful place to spend some time thinking great
thoughts, contemplating nature or not doing anything at all. In the spring you’ll
find lots of ducklings paddling along after their mom and lots of young
squirrels barking at you from the safety of tall trees. There are good opportunities
to take pictures from the bridges; many times the squirrels and birds will even
cooperate and let you take a snap or two of them. If you happen to have your
dog with you, this is also a nice place for a romp (Richardson does have a
leash law and requires cleaning up after your dog).
|Left top: Path and trees Left bottom: Prairie Creek|
Right: Walkway and trees
What we ate…
Richardson has some really good restaurants (for information about my rating system, see Reading the Reviews; one that has been around for 30+ years is the String Bean (1310 W. Campbell Rd., Richardson; 972-385-3287). If you like Southern cooking, this is the place to
come. They have ‘small plates’ that are more than
adequate unless you’re absolutely starving; of course, if you have a small plate you can also have
dessert. There are several things I like on the menu, particularly the chicken
salad, but this time I got chicken fingers (with sweet and sour dipping sauce),
string beans and okra. The chicken was tender and crispy, the string beans
tasted of bacon, and the okra was had a nice crunch once it was cool enough to
eat; I was not at all disappointed in my ‘small plate’ but I didn’t have any
room for dessert. I can’t wait to go back for some blackberry cobbler!
|L to R: Green beans, chicken, fried okra|
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