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  • Writer's pictureDallas Area Visitors

Days 3 & 4...Dallas Oregon Churches and Bars

To get at the heart of small-town America, peel away the elements of a typical main street. Forget the retail shops or traffic signals. Take away the cafe, the restaurants, the school - even the town square. By this point you're probably left with a pretty small town. But chances are you're also left with two pillars of rural America - the local churches and the local bars. Why is this? They say there's a thin line between Saturday night and Sunday morning. Usually it's just a figure of speech. But to get from Saturday night to Sunday morning in Dallas Oregon, you just walk a block or two in any direction.

The sign on the road into town says 15,000 people live here which make Dallas a pretty small town. The first thing you're likely to spot in town is the the myriad of churches combined with the plethora of bars, pubs and taverns. Many have heard the rumor that Dallas Oregon has the most bars and churches per capita. The Dallas Area Visitors Center thought we'd research this long standing gossip. According to Dallas doesn't make the list for bars per capita. The list is as follows:

#10 - Ithaca, NY (bars per 100,000 households)

#9 - Sheboygan, WI (12.1 bars per 100,000 households)

#8 - Whitewater, WI (12.3 bars per 100,000 households)

#7 - Myrtle Beach, SC (12.7 bars per 100,000 households)

#6 - Las Vegas, NV (12.8 bars per 100,000 households)

#5 - Portland, OR (13.3 bars per 100,000 households)

#4 - New Orleans, LA (13.6 bars per 100,000 households

#3 - Reno, NV (14 bars per 100,000 households)

#2 - Maui, HI (14.6 bars per 100,000 households)

#1 - San Francisco, CA (16.5 bars per 100,000 households)

Our little town doesn't make the list of churches per capita either. According to the list of most churches per capita is: #10 - Boston, MA (575 religious venues, Avg people per church - 1,107 )

#9 - Houston, TX (1,991 religious venues, Avg people per church - 1,085)

#8 - Chartlotte, NC (736 religious venues, Avg people per church - 1,053)

#7 - Dallas, TX (1,400 religious venues, Avg people per church - 909)

#6 - Columbus, OH (1,400 religious venues, Avg people per church - 907)

#5 - Memphis, TN (1,832 religious venues, Avg people per church - 804)

#4 - Washington, DC (857 religious venues, Avg people per church - 738)

#3 - Jacksonville, FL (1,488 religious venues, Avg people per church - 562)

#2 - Seattle, WA (1,355 religious venues, Avg people per church - 481)

#1 - Indianapolis, IN (2,900 religious venues, Avg people per church - 289)

So, where did the rumor of churches and bars per capita originate from? Some may never know for sure where it originated, but many have a theory as to WHY it originated! In a conversation we had recently we were discussing why Dallas Oregon has so many bars and so many churches. The following is the best theory we've heard yet!

In 1912 a large sawmill was built in Falls City Oregon. The hardworking men of Falls City needed a place to unwind on the weekends, especially after a Friday payday! These men would travel into the "big" town of Dallas to spend their paycheck. This inevitably meant stopping in for a drink or two.....or 10! This form of "relaxation" would often result in physical fights between the mill workers and Dallas residents alike. In fact, people would come to town on Friday and Saturday nights simply to watch the entertainment of this drama. Well, we all know if you get to rowdy and inflict harm on another person or if you imbibe too much, most of the time it will result in less than desirable circumstances; IE, hangovers, a night spent in jail, an evening you don't even remember. It can be surmised that the people in Dallas Oregon who had "relaxed" a little too much on Friday or Saturday nights may wake up on Sunday's feeling pretty miserable about the actions and decisions they made. What better place to find solace from our own bad decisions than a place of worship! Of course, with this the question can be made....which came first the churches or the bars? Were they built simultaneously? Were they a direct effect of each other? We may never know the truth surrounding this, but the the facts do remain....Dallas OR does not have the most bars and churches per capita.

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1 Comment

Kevin Roberson
Kevin Roberson
Mar 03, 2021

Dallas makes both lists of top ten bars and churches per capita. The lists just don't include towns as small as Dallas. Dallas has 20 churches and 15,000 people, meaning it has 750 people per church, putting it at #5 on the list. San Francisco has 16.5 bars per 100,000 people which means it has about 2.5 bars per 15,000 people. Dallas has 5 bars for 15,000 people, double San Francisco.

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