Municipal Archives

The Kessler Plan, 1911-1930

​Collection 1991-004​


Office of the City Secretary
Dallas Municipal Archives
1500 Marilla Street, 5D South
Dallas, Texas 75201
Creator George E. Kessler
Title The Kessler Plan
Dates 1911-1930
Quantity 3 linear inches
Abstract Dallas’s managed growth plan from 1910 through the 1930s, authored by George E. Kessler.
Identification 1991-004
Language Records are in English

​Scope and Content

Printed materials documenting the Kessler Plan of George E. Kessler, city planner.

The Kessler Plan was the City of Dallas’s managed growth plan from 1910 through the 1930s, authored by George E. Kessler, a German-born city planner.  In 1909, the Dallas Chamber of Commerce established the City Plan and Improvement League (later called the Kessler Plan Association) and hired Kessler to draft a design for a long-range plan of civic improvements.  Kessler designed the plan to solve many of the city's problems, including the uncontrollable flooding of the Trinity River, the dangerous railroad crossings, and narrow, crooked downtown streets. 

The plan was not implemented because it was not believed to be practical, but it became increasingly clear that changes were needed.  Having moved to St. Louis in 1910, Kessler returned to Dallas in 1918 to act as consulting engineer for the Dallas Property Owners' Association and, in 1919, began working for the Metropolitan Development Association of the Dallas Chamber of Commerce.  He remained in Dallas until January 3, 1922, when he returned to St. Louis.  

The Trinity River was improved and the levee system was completed in the 1930s.  In addition to a plan for Dallas, Kessler drafted city plans for Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Cleveland, El Paso, Denver, and Syracuse.  Kessler died in Indianapolis, Indiana, on March 20, 1923.

The collection contains one series, printed materials documenting the Kessler Plan.  Many of the materials are promotional publications from either the Kessler Plan Association or the Dallas Chamber of Commerce.


The collection is arranged chronologically.  The collection contains one series of printed materials documenting the Kessler Plan and promotional publications from either the Kessler Plan Association or the Dallas Chamber of Commerce.


Permission to publish, reproduce, distribute, or use by any and all other current or future developed methods or procedures must be obtained in writing from the Dallas Municipal Archives. All rights are reserved and retained regardless of current or future development or laws that may apply to fair use standards.


The Kessler Plan, 1911-1930 (Box <x>, Folder <y>), Dallas Municipal Archives

Related ​Materials

​Collection 1998-004—The Bartholomew Plan, 1943-1957

Index Terms

Books and reading -- Texas -- Dallas – History
Dallas -- Texas -- History

​Container List 

Box Folder Title, Date
11"A City Plan for Dallas" Dallas Park Board 1, 1911 [published report]
"A City Plan for Dallas" Dallas Park Board 2, 1911 [published report]
 3"The Kessler City Plan for Dallas," 1925 [published summary]
 4Printed promotional materials, 1925-1926 [literature and form letters about the Kessler Plan (seven items)]
 5"Dallas Manufacturing Facilities and Opportunities," 1928 [published report]
 6 Dallas, July 1929 [Official publication of the Dallas Chamber of Commerce]
 7"What Does 'Our City' Need?" 1930 [published address by John E. Suratt Secretary, Kessler Plan Association, to Woman's Forum of Wichita Falls, Texas]
 8Proposed Zoning Ordinance, undated [published preliminary copy]