The mission of Dallas Heritage Village is to collect, preserve, and teach the history of Dallas and North Central Texas. Located in historic Old City Park, the museum uses its collections of historic buildings and furnishings, representing the period 1840-1910, to sponsor research, publications, and exhibits, and to present educational programs and special events for diverse audiences of children, families, and adults.
Dallas Heritage Village and the land on which it sits has a long and rich connection with Dallas history. Site of many firsts, this piece of land became Dallas’ first city park in 1876. At the time, it was simply called City Park. The Cedars, an elegant neighborhood, home of many business and mercantile leaders, grew up around City Park in the 1880s and 1890s. The city’s first zoo was located here and weekly concerts were given in the bandstand similar to the one at the Village today. Browder Springs, which now flows underground, was the first water supply with a wooden water main carrying water to the young city. Turn-of-the-century maps show a large pavilion, fountain, pump house, pond, and greenhouses. The greenhouses were open to the public during the day for touring.
After World War II, many people moved to the suburbs around Dallas and highways were built to get them in to the city for work. Interstate 30 cut the Cedars neighborhood off from downtown, leaving the neighborhood and the park in decline. The future of City Park looked dim until a group of women determined to save a historic plantation house from the wrecking ball offered the park a new role in the culture of Dallas. The ladies who rescued Millermore stored the disassembled pieces in a warehouse, and then called Ray Hubbard, president of the park board. He agreed with their idea to reconstruct the house in City Park, where it became the first of 21 buildings transported here to become a village. When Millermore opened here in 1969 the museum was called Old City Park. As living history became popular, the museum introduced first person interpreters who speak in the role of a person from the early days of Dallas. In 2005 the museum’s name was changed to Dallas Heritage Village at Old City Park to reflect the living village it has become.