Perched at the apex of the golden triangle, with Dallas to the East and Fort Worth to the west, Denton is a vigorous and dynamic nucleus of culture. Being the county seat for Denton County, home to two major universities and, host of cultural events such as the North Texas State Fair and the Arts and Jazz Festival, this town always has something going on.
Founded in 1857 through a Texas land grant, the town was named after John B. Denton, a militia captain and circuit-riding preacher. Originally a farming community, Denton embarked on a course which turned it into a center for higher education with the establishment of North Texas Normal College in 1890. Today, known as the University of North Texas, the school is the third largest university in Texas. In 1901 the College of Industrial Arts, now Texas Woman’s University, was established putting Denton at the forefront of progressivism in America.
In the center of it all, flanked by four left turns is one of the most iconic spots in town, the Denton Country Courthouse in the historic downtown square. Constructed of native limestone and pink granite in 1896, the building is still home to Denton County’s Commissioners Court. The baroque architecture of the courthouse, the red-brick streets on the perimeter, and a canopy of Texas pecan trees sketch an image that is both serene and timeless. A statue of a Confederate soldier stands facing South serving as a memorial to men’s lost lives and a reminder that this place is rich with history.
Today the Courthouse-on-the-Square is a meeting place in a way that harkens to a past era. Thanks to the efforts of the town’s Main Street program and the entrepreneurial spirit of the community, the square is at the epicenter of activity. As you spiral out and begin walking East on Hickory you’ll find a turn-of-the-century-style ice cream parlor at Beth Marie’s. Continuing around the square there is coffee, wine, pizza, and square doughnuts to be enjoyed. Extending one block off the square you can listen to original poetry each month at Banter Bistro or feed your soul in one of the historic churches; each the first in town of their denomination.
This is a place that is bustling with life and activity. Many come to Denton to visit, some come to study, and a few come to stay. In the deep of the North Texas summer the temperature can hover above 100 degrees for weeks. San Augustine grass in the shade provides a cool respite to bare feet. Add a double-dip of homemade ice cream and beat the heat while watching the children chase squirrels on the courthouse lawn.