Settlement of this area began in the 1840s. A small community named Duck Creek was established and by 1846 a log cabin was serving as a community center, school, and Union Church. Early businesses included a general store, grist mill, and cotton gin. In 1886 The Gulf, Colorado, & Santa Fe Railroad built a line through Dallas County, passing about one mile east of Duck Creek. A new town, named Embree in honor of one of Duck Creek's early doctors, was laid out along the rail line. The Missouri, Kansas, & Texas Railroad built a second rail line north of the Santa Fe Tracks. The original Duck Creek settlement declined in favor of New Duck Creek on the MKT Rail Line. A U.S. Post Office was authorized for the area in 1887 and was positioned between the two towns. Named for U.S. Attorney General A. H. Garland, the site became a new town into which the earlier communities merged. The citizens voted to incorporate in 1891, and M. Davis Williams was elected first mayor. Garland flourished in the early 20th century and survived the Great Depression. Rapid transportation and industrial growth following World War II changed the city's economic base. Garland continues to be an important part of Dallas County history.