Wilmer is at the junction of Interstate Highway 45/U.S. Highway 75 and Cottonwood Creek, fourteen miles southeast of downtown Dallas in southeastern Dallas County. Andrew K. Gray, the holder of the original land patent arrived in the area before 1850. The community was called Prairie Valley when the Houston and Texas Central...
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Wilmer is at the junction of Interstate Highway 45/U.S. Highway 75 and Cottonwood Creek, fourteen miles southeast of downtown Dallas in southeastern Dallas County. Andrew K. Gray, the holder of the original land patent arrived in the area before 1850. The community was called Prairie Valley when the Houston and Texas Central Railroad established a stop in 1872. In 1884 the post office located in Prairie Valley was renamed Wilmer, after A. J. Wilmer, a conductor on the Houston and Texas Central, who often passed through town.
By 1890 Wilmer was a thriving agricultural community raising cotton to be shipped on the Houston and Texas Central and had a population of 100, two churches, a steam mill and cotton gin, and two general stores. By the time of World War I, the community had a population of over 200. In 1929, a fire destroyed most of the business district, including one of its two banks. Fire trucks arrived but were unable to pump enough water from Wilmer's shallow wells. After the fire much of the town was rebuilt to the east, along Highway 75. The city of Wilmer was incorporated in 1945. At that time, Wilmer had 136 homes and a population of 450. By the late 1940s the community had not implemented a water system because of the enormous expense. This lack of available water gave Wilmer one of the highest fire insurance rates in the country.
Wilmer and the nearby community of Hutchins combined their two school districts into one district. In the Spring of 2005, students from the combined district were merged with the schools of the Dallas Independent School District. The Dallas ISD operates schools in much of Dallas County, is the second largest school district in Texas and the twelfth largest in the United States.
The majority of the workforce, an estimated 85 percent, commuted to work in Dallas. Two manufacturers were located in Wilmer at the time, an ice factory and a cotton gin. The nineteen businesses in town hired those who did not commute to Dallas or work in agriculture raising cotton, corn, oats, and livestock in the area's fertile bottom land. In 1949, a volunteer fire department was started and a used fire truck purchased for their use. The population grew rapidly throughout the next four decades, primarily because of the town's proximity to Dallas. As of year 2000, there were approximately 3,400 residents living in Wilmer.