Denton is located in Denton County (of which is the county seat) between the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and Gainesville on I-35 and US 380.
Until then an agriculture center, it became a college town when North Texas Normal College (now the University of North Texas) was established in 1890 and the Girls' Industrial College (now Texas Woman's University) was established in 1903. Although the colleges' influence was slight for several years, they ultimately did more to establish the character of Denton than any other single influence. By the 1980s, with a total enrollment of almost 25,000 students, the two universities provided half the city's population and greatly influenced its cultural and economic life.
Denton grew rapidly from 1960, when the population was 26,844, to 1980, when it was 48,063. The population in 1990 was 66,270.