is a city in Dallas, Ellis, and Tarrant Counties in the U.S. state of Texas and is a part of the Mid-Cities region in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. The population was 153,812 in 2006. Grand Prairie is one of the fastest growing cities in the United States.
The city of Grand Prairie was first established as “Dechman” by Alexander McRae Dechman in 1863. Dechman, who was from Birdville learned that he could trade his oxen and wagons for land in Dallas County. In 1863, Dechman bought 239 ½ acres of land on the east side of the Trinity River and 100 acres (.40 km2) of timber land on the west side of the river for a broken down wagon, oxen team and US$200 in Confederate money. He tried to establish a home on the property, but ran into difficulties, so he returned to his family in Birdville before joining in the Civil War. Then in 1867, he filed a town plat consisting of 50 acres (200,000 m2) with Dallas County.
After the war, he returned to Birdville for two years before selling that farm in 1867 and moving to Houston, where Yellow Fever broke out causing the family to settle in Bryan. In 1876, Dechman traded half his "prairie" property to T&P Railroad to ensure the railroad came through the town. The railroad named the depot "Dechman" prompting its namesake to relocate his home from Bryan to Dechman. His son Alexander had been living in Dechman and operating a trading post and farm. The first church in the area was the Good Hope Cumberland Sabbath School established in 1870 by Rev. Andrew Hayter. The church was later renamed West Fork United Presbyterian Church and remains an active church.
The first U.S. Post Office opened in 1877 under the name “Deckman” rather than "Dechman" because the United States Postal Service couldn't read the writing on the form completed to open the post office; later that same year, the name of the town was later changed to Grand Prairie. Legend has it that a famous actress stepped off a train and exclaimed “My, what a grand prairie!” Dechman sold the remainder of his Grand Prairie land in 1890 and apparently moved to Waxahachie. He is buried in historic Greenwood Cemetery in Dallas.
The town of Grand Prairie was eventually was incorporated as a city in 1909. During World War II and since, Grand Prairie has had a long history with the defense and aviation industry. While the present day Vought plant on Jefferson Ave. is part of a small strip of the Dallas city line; it was originally in Grand Prairie. During WWII it was a North American Aviation plant that produced the P-51C and K Mustang variants. After the war, Vought Aircraft took over the plant. This later became Ling Temco Vought and then eventually returned to the Vought moniker. The plant was the production site for the F-8 Crusader and the A-7 Corsair II aircraft of the 1950-1989 time period. The Missile and Space division of LTV produced missiles such as the Scout and MLRS. This division was eventually sold to Lockheed Martin which continues to operate in Grand Prairie. Grand Prairie was also the North American headquarters for Aérospatiale Helicopter. This company eventually became Eurocopter.