Recreation opportunities abound. There are heavily wooded areas overlooking the beautiful Joe Pool Lake with hiking and bike trials. Grimes Park features baseball and soccer fields and a covered BMX track. Metroplex BMX is America’s first covered facility built exclusively for BMX racing. It is a 60,000 square foot lighted and covered facility built by the city.
The city’s recreation center features racquetball courts, a walking track, a weight room, gymnasiums, and classes held year-round. Zeiger Park is named after former mayor Les Zeiger. The park was recently reconstructed and offers tournament-quality adult softball fields, basketball courts, a walking trail, lighted parking, a playground, and picnic tables with grills. Briarwood Park offers fishing, wooded trails with a creek and playgrounds. Windmill Hill Preserve is 75 acres set aside as a nature preserve and is a great place for hiking.
The city’s school district features one high school, a ninth-grade center, two junior high schools, two intermediate schools and five elementary schools. There are also seven private schools. DeSoto’s school district is a recognized school district by the Texas Education Agency for the third year in a row. Cockrell Hill Elementary, Ruby Young Elementary and East Junior High all received the recognized rating. West Junior High received a rating of exemplary.
Nearby Higher education facilities include Cedar Valley College, Mountain View College (both CVC and MVC are part of the Dallas County Community College District), University of Texas at Arlington and University of North Texas System Center. Nearby Private Universities include Southern Methodist University and Dallas Baptist University.
The history of De Soto dates back to 1847, just eleven years after Texas won its independence from Mexico, when families first settled in the area. Around the year 1848, T. J. Johnson, fresh from Tennessee, built a tiny general merchandise store near the "crossroads." This crossroads was located where one road (just a wagon trail in those days) went from Dallas to the Shiloh community in Ellis County. Another trail crossed the road, running east and west, from Lancaster to Cedar Hill. This crossroads is now known as Belt Line and Hampton.
In 1881, a post office was established and the settlement was given the name of DeSoto in honor of Dr. Thomas Hernando DeSoto Stewart, a beloved doctor dedicated to the community. During those early years DeSoto remained a farming community and not much changed until the 1940s.
After World War II the area began to grow, as did all of the towns and cities in Dallas County. Because of growth that the community was experiencing, the people felt the need to incorporate in order to improve an inadequate water distribution system. After a vote, the city was incorporated on March 3, 1949.