The Old Red Courthouse, which dates back to 1892, served as the Dallas County Courthouse for many years and has been on the National Register of Historic Places for more than three decades. Built with red sandstone and granite, the courthouse stands as a stunning example of Romanesque architecture. Today, it houses a museum—called, appropriately, the Old Red Museum—that serves as the premier place to learn about the evolution of Dallas. With the John Neely Bryan cabin, the JFK Memorial, and the Sixth Floor Museum just minutes away, the Old Red Courthouse is perfect for a half-hour history lesson or an entire afternoon’s worth of education on Dallas.
The museum has four permanent exhibits that break down the city’s past. Check out a mammoth tusk or Civil War pistol in the Early Years (prehistory–1873), then make your way to the Trading Center (1874–1917), which examines Dallas as a burgeoning city. It is also where you can find a World War I gas mask or a high-wheeled bicycle. Get a peek at Clyde Barrow’s gun or a banjo from Deep Ellum’s early days in the Big D exhibit (1918–1945), which looks at Dallas as it established itself as a national metropolitan powerhouse. Then there’s World Crossroads (1946–present), which includes relics such as Tom Landry’s famous fedora. The Crystal Charity Ball Children’s Education Center offers a more hands-on and interactive experience for kids, and the museum also rotates a series of special exhibits that celebrate unique aspects of Dallas art and history.