Downtown Historic Dallas is located in the center of Gaston County and north of I-85 off of Hwy 321. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was originally listed as the County seat. Much of the history and still be found on the streets offering visitors many things to do. Dallas features the Old Gaston County Courthouse, the Gaston County Museum, the Old Jail, and other buildings surrounding the court square. Walking tours of the square are available at Gaston County Museum.
Things to Do
GASTON COUNTY MUSEUM
In 1852, Daniel Hoffman built an impressive 44-room hotel on Lot #5 on the southeast corner of the Dallas Court Square. Bricks were made on-site, as were the square-headed nails used in construction of the hotel, which consisted of a basement and an attic, 3 floors of hotel rooms, dining room and family quarters.
The Carolina & Northwestern Train Depot
The Carolina & Northwestern Train Depot was built in 1903. It was originally located a few blocks south of the Gaston County Museum on Main Street between Rhyne St. and College St. The depot was moved to its current location in 1977 to be used as an art center. Later, it served as a design shop for museum exhibits, before undergoing an extensive renovation in July of 2009, bringing it to its present condition. The depot was donated to the Gaston County Museum by L.D. Guess, a former stationmaster in Dallas, who purchased the depot when railroad officials decided to shut down the Dallas office and made plans to demolish the structure.
Gaston County Jail
In 1848 the Gaston County Jail was completed by Abraham Mauney and his slave workers, and Benjamin Morris became the county’s first sheriff. In the 19th century, it was customary for the sheriff and his family to live in the jail, so they occupied the lower floors while the prisoner’s jail cells were located on the second floor. It was expected that the sheriff’s wife and family would do the cooking, cleaning, and laundry for the prisoners.
Gaston County Courthouse
During 1857, the courthouse opened in the "Public Square." Here the county business and entertainment was conducted, and you could hear trial testimony and the latest music from traveling performers and singers. In 1874, architectural changes were made after a fire. The fence posts that surround the court square and the granite stairs were fashioned by John Campo, a Union soldier who made Dallas his home.
Dallas, incorporated in 1863, is the oldest incorporated town in Gaston County. Dallas was named for George Mifflin Dallas, who was the U.S. Vice President in 1846 when Dallas was established. Designated originally as the County Seat, it remained so for 64 years until 1911. The Old Courthouse, renovated in 1868 after a fire, still stands in the main square of the town.