Texas Lakes Trail Region

Participant in the Texas Historical Commission's
Texas Heritage Trails Program


Opal Lawrence Home

Few settlers moved to Mesquite until 1873 when the Texas and Pacific Railway built a station and platted the town. The exception was David and Julie Florence who built a clapboard ranch house in 1871 with a central chimney, shed rooms across the back and gallery across the front. They expanded the home and ranch after the railroad opened up agricultural markets. The Florence Ranch Homestead now gives visitors a taste of 19th-century farm life. Another city property, the 1874 Opal Lawrence Home, is a Texas landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The large prairie vernacular home sits near an original smokehouse, root cellar, washhouse, chicken coops and barns. The city hosts a fundraiser each October to support restoration of the farmstead. Throughout the year, visitors flock to two Mesquite attractions that couldn’t be more different. Families fill the Mesquite ProRodeo arena, as they have for half a century, for thrill-a-minute saddle bronc riding, bull riding and barrel racing. At the state-of-the-art Mesquite Arts Center visitors enjoy musical performances in a 500-seat concert hall and theatrical productions in the intimate Black Box Theatre.