Texas Didn't Always Participate in Daylight Saving Time, Curious Texas Investigates

Daylight saving time has forced Texans to change their clocks twice a year for decades. Early Sunday, we will roll our clocks forward an hour once again.

But there was a time when Texans lived without the regular time changes, and one of our readers wanted to know why daylight saving time was introduced.

That’s why Rene Fletcher asked Curious Texas: When did daylight saving time return to Texas?

“I had completely forgotten daylight saving time came to Texas, was discontinued and then came back,” she said. “I think I was 11 years old [and] in the fifth grade when it came back.”


President Woodrow Wilson signed the daylight saving bill, known as the Standard Time Bill, into law on March 19, 1918. The law established federally mandated time zones across the country. It also mandated that all clocks be set forward the last Sunday of March and back again the last Sunday in October.

The U.S. followed suit after a dozen European countries had "effectively demonstrated" the "practicality and efficiency" of their own daylight saving plans, The News reported at the time.

The American law promised to help conserve resources like oil, gas and electric power used to light homes and businesses. It would also result in "general benefits to the national health because of the additional hours of daylight, which may be devoted to recreation, reduction in the cost of living to some, who can raise garden truck for domestic consumption, and improvement of the training conditions for the fighting forces," The News reported.

The law was so unpopular that Congress repealed it seven months later.

Daylight saving time returned to the national conversation after President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill into law that established “War Time” — year-round daylight saving — in January 1942. The new law mandated that certain clocks be set one hour ahead at 2 a.m. on Feb. 2.

The change moved up Dallas’ official sunrise by an hour to 8:16 a.m.

Details on how the new law would work seemed unclear at the time. Many in Dallas voiced opposition to the time change.

“Washington dispatches have never quite clarified just who must abide by the new time,” The News reported. “The Federal Reserve Bank here (whose time will probably control the times of other banks) may or may not adopt the measure ... decision would be reached after the city’s trend became clear.

War time switched to standard time on Sept. 30, 1945, following the end of World War II, allowing everyone to have an extra hour of sleep.

To read the full article, visit our partners at the Dallas Morning News.

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