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Denison, Texas
Denison Commercial Historic District
Denison Commercial Historic District
Flag of Denison, Texas
Location of Denison, Texas
Location of Denison, Texas
Coordinates: 33°44′59″N 96°33′27″W / 33.74972°N 96.55750°W / 33.74972; -96.55750Coordinates: 33°44′59″N 96°33′27″W / 33.74972°N 96.55750°W / 33.74972; -96.55750
Country  United States
State  Texas
County Grayson
Founded 1872
 • Type Council-Manager
 • City 29.06 sq mi (75.27 km2)
 • Land 28.61 sq mi (74.09 km2)
 • Water 0.46 sq mi (1.18 km2)  1.94%
728 ft (222 m)
 • City 22,682
 • Estimate 
 • Density 892.44/sq mi (344.57/km2)
 • Urban
61,900 (US: 438th)
 • Urban density 1,722.9/sq mi (665.2/km2)
 • Metro
 • Demonyms
Denisonite Denisonian
Time zone UTC−6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
Area code(s) 903
FIPS code 48-19900
GNIS feature ID 1379652

Denison is a city in Grayson County, Texas, United States. It is 75 miles (121 km) north of Dallas. The population was 22,682 at the 2010 census. Denison is part of the Texoma region and is one of two principal cities in the Sherman–Denison Metropolitan Statistical Area. Denison is known as the birthplace of Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States.


Old map-Denison-1891
Map of the city in 1891
Rusk Avenue looking north, Denison, Texas
Rusk Avenue looking north (postcard, circa 1911)

Denison was founded in 1872 in conjunction with the Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad (MKT) or "Katy" depot. It was named after the wealthy Katy vice president George Denison. Because the town was established close to where the MKT crossed the Red River (both important conduits of transportation in the industrial era), it came to be an important commercial center in the 19th century American West. In 1875, Doc Holliday had offices in Denison.

During the phylloxera epidemic of the mid-19th century, which destroyed the vast majority of wine grapes in Europe, Denison horticulturalist T.V. Munson pioneered methods in creating phylloxera-resistant vines, and earned induction into the French Legion of Honor, as well as sister city status for Denison and Cognac, France.

In 1901 the first electric "Interurban" railway in Texas, the Denison and Sherman Railway, was completed between Denison and Sherman.

In 1915, the Kentucky-based evangelist Mordecai Ham held a revival meeting in Denison, which resulted in 1,100 professions of faith in Jesus Christ.

Denison played host to 20th century notables such as the Marx Brothers and President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was born on October 14, 1890, in Denison.


Denison is located in northeastern Grayson County, with the city limits extending north to the Red River, which forms the Oklahoma state line. It is bordered to the south by the city of Sherman; the city centers are 11 miles (18 km) apart.

According to the United States Census Bureau, Denison has a total area of 23.4 square miles (60.7 km2), of which 23.0 square miles (59.6 km2) are land and 0.46 square miles (1.2 km2), or 1.94%, are water.

Denison Dam, which forms Lake Texoma on the Red River, is 5 miles (8 km) north of Denison. The city is in the center of the Texoma region, encompassing parts of Texas and Oklahoma.


Denison has a humid subtropical climate.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 3,975
1890 10,958 175.7%
1900 11,807 7.7%
1910 13,632 15.5%
1920 17,065 25.2%
1930 13,850 −18.8%
1940 15,581 12.5%
1950 17,504 12.3%
1960 22,748 30.0%
1970 24,923 9.6%
1980 23,884 −4.2%
1990 21,505 −10.0%
2000 22,773 5.9%
2010 22,682 −0.4%
2019 (est.) 25,529 12.6%
U.S. Decennial Census

At the census of 2000, there were 22,773 people, 9,185 households, and 6,135 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,008.1 people per square mile (389.2/km2). There were 10,309 housing units at an average density of 456.3 per square mile (176.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 84.02% White, 8.62% African American, 1.67% Native American, 0.46% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 2.19% from other races, and 2.98% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.23% of the population.

There were 9,185 households, out of which 29.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.1% were married couples living together, 14.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.2% were non-families. 29.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 2.97.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 24.6% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 26.7% from 25 to 44, 22.4% from 45 to 64, and 17.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 88.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $31,474, and the median income for a family was $39,820. Males had a median income of $30,459 versus $21,451 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,685. About 11.9% of families and 14.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.8% of those under age 18 and 11.8% of those age 65 or over.


North Texas Regional Airport
Front entrance sign at the North Texas Regional Airport

Denison is served by two U.S. HighwaysU.S. 69 and U.S. 75 (Katy Mem. Freeway)—and two State Highways—State Highway 91 and Spur 503 (Eisenhower Parkway). State Highway 91, known as Texoma Parkway, is one of the main commercial strips that connects Sherman and Denison. It also extends north to Lake Texoma.

General aviation service is provided by North Texas Regional Airport.

Denison is served by one 24-hour taxicab service provided locally by yellow cab.

Taps in Sherman
A TAPS pickup station at Midway Mall in Sherman

Denison is a member city of the regional public transportation system called TAPS, which offers on-demand service, fixed routes to Choctaw and Sherman, and services to Dallas/Fort Worth and Dallas Love Field airports. As of December 2015 TAPS had ceased most operations due to financial problems. Limited service is available for the handicapped.

Travel destination

Eisenhower Birthplace State Historic Site in 2009
Eisenhower Birthplace State Historic Site in 2009

Denison is home to the Eisenhower Birthplace State Historic Site.

In 2013 Lake Texoma and the Hampton Inn and Suites Denison were featured on a travel show entitled The Official Best of Texas which aired on CBS and the Discovery Channel.


Grayson College
The administration building on the Grayson College campus in Denison

Denison is served by the Denison Independent School District. At the start of the 2014 school year, a new Denison High School building was completed and ready for use.

It is home to Grayson College, which preserves Denison's viticultural heritage with its T.V. Munson Viticulture & Enology Program.

High school football

Munson Stadium seats 5,262 people and is primarily used for football. It is the home field of Denison High School's football and soccer teams. The Denison High School football team won the 1984 Texas Class 4A State Championship by beating Tomball 27-13 completing a perfect 16–0 record. They also made three straight appearances in the 1995, 1996, and 1997 Class 4A Division II State Championship games, losing each time to La Marque.

They are home to the longest high school football rivalry in Texas: the Battle of the Ax, against Sherman High School.

Notable people

President Dwight D. Eisenhower was born in Denison in 1890, and to date is the city's most notable resident. His birthplace was purchased by the city in 1946 (six years before he was elected President) and is now maintained as Eisenhower Birthplace State Historic Site. In addition, Eisenhower State Park on Lake Texoma is named in his honor.

Other notable people who were either born in or have lived in Denison include:

  • Bill Anoatubby, governor of the Chickasaw Nation
  • Clora Bryant, jazz trumpeter
  • Joie Chitwood (1912–1988), race car driver and businessman
  • Booker Ervin, jazz musician who played tenor saxophone
  • Michael Haynes, NFL Hall of Fame player
  • Jim Hightower, former commissioner of Texas Department of Agriculture and a liberal commentator and author, born in Denison in 1943
  • John Hillerman, the actor who played Higgins on Tom Selleck's Magnum, P.I.
  • John Henry "Doc" Holliday, gunfighter, gambler and western legend, maintained a dental practice in Denison
  • Aaron Hunt and Reggie Hunt, brothers and professional football players in Canadian Football League
  • Thomas Volney Munson, horticulturalist
  • Clifford Noe, international conman and swindler
  • Beatrice Pearson, actress
  • SoMo, singer
  • Chesley Burnett "Sully" Sullenberger, airline pilot
  • Jordan Taylor, NFL wide receiver, Super Bowl 50 champion with the Denver Broncos.
  • Zeb Terry, Major League Baseball infielder
  • Viola Van Katwijk, composer and pianist
  • Fred Washington, NFL defensive tackle for Chicago Bears, 1990 NFL Draft Round 2, Pick 7

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