History

Post Office
Red Oak Post Office

RED OAK, TEXAS, is located in northern Ellis County on Interstate Highway 35, twenty miles south of Dallas. In 1844, Colonel James E. Patton and his family settled on Red Oak Creek. Red Oak was named for Red Oak Creek and for the plentiful supply of Red Oak trees along its banks. On July 25, 1847, James E. Patton also founded the Shiloh congregation of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church which was the first church in the area.

The first store in Red Oak was constructed circa 1852, the store also served as the post office. In 1890, the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Rail Road (M-K-T, or Katy) was completed; it was located approximately one mile to the northwest of Red Oak. In 1909, and once again 1919, fires caused extensive damage first to the southern and later to the northern part of town. In 1949, Red Oak was legally incorporated as a city under the Texas Local Government Code.

Today, Red Oak is the home for an impressive portfolio of industries, businesses, and higher education including Triumph Aerostructures (advanced technology and manufacturing, defense, aviation and aerospace), National Freight Industries (transportation, logistics, distribution, and warehousing), and Knapheide Truck Equipment Center – Southwest (truck bodies), multiple banking and finance institutions, and a wide range of retailers and restaurants. Red Oak is also the home for Texas State Technical College North Texas (TSTC), a state-funded, higher education, technical-vocational college).

In 1967, Red Oak was used for three days as the site of filming for the motion picture Bonnie and Clyde. In 1950, the population in Red Oak was 350, and increased to 1,882 by 1980. In the late 1900’s, cotton was still produced, although farming was not central to the local economy. From 2000 to 2010, the population in Red Oak increased from 4,310 in 2000 to 10,769 in 2010 --- exceeding 150%!

Red Oak History (PDF)