In 1913, Congress passed a law to create eight additional Federal Reserve banks in the United States. The cities of Dallas, Houston, and Fort Worth competed with other sizable cities across the country for the coveted privilege to be one of those eight locations chosen. Dallas won out with the efforts of a group of Dallas businessmen led by George B. Dealey, publisher of the Dallas Morning News, and J. Howard Ardrey.
Ardrey’s and Dealey’s lobbying efforts in Washington, D.C., included cryptic telegrams to confound the competition. Their aim was to impress the values of a Federal Reserve Bank in Dallas upon two prominent Texans in the nation’s capitol, Postmaster General Albert S. Burleson and E.M. House, advisor to President Woodrow Wilson.
Burleson made a visit to Dallas, traveling by train from St. Louis. Ardrey and one of Dealey’s reporters from the Dallas Morning News arranged to take the same train where they supposedly met Burleson by chance. This provided Ardrey the opportunity for a lengthy discussion to further sway Burleson for Dallas. By April 1914, Dealey learned that Dallas was to be selected as the center of operation for the Eleventh District of the Federal Reserve. Dallas had not only won out over its Texas neighbors, but over New Orleans as well. While the banking system in New Orleans was similar to that in Dallas, it lacked the phenomenal growth that Dallas had experienced in just ten years.
While the board of directors for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas met formally for the first time on October 16, 1914, the bank began pubic operations on November 16, 1914.
The Dallas Historical Society’s May 12th brown bag lectures featured Princeton Williams presentation, “An Argument for Dallas: 100 Years of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.”