The History of Plano, Texas

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Plano water tower with city logo painted on itA group of settlers from Kentucky and Tennessee began occupying in the 1840s, the area surrounding what is now known as Plano, Texas. During this era, the settlers were consistently attacked by the local Indian tribes; this caused fear among the settlers which brought along disorganization.

In 1846, William Foreman, a merchant by trade bought a gigantic land tract in the area where he established a new sawmill and started a gristmill business. The intention that William Forman had when opening these markets was to support the core needs of the settlers that had already been occupying this area. The influx of new settlers into the area was encouraged by William Foreman´s mills. This also led to more business opening up in the following years.

During the early 19th century, due to the presence of various businesses in the area, more and more people became attracted to the area, this lead to Plano becoming one of the fastest growing towns in the Texas area. In 1850, William Foreman established the first mail service, and his home served as the unofficial post.

How the Name Plano Came to Be

During the year 1950, the area had still not been named. Dr. Dye, one of the settlers in the area who also happened to be the first physician, was interested in making sure that the area had a proper name, so Dr. Dye sent a formal request to Washington, D.C. The very first name that was proposed was the American President, Fillmore. However, it was rejected.

The settlers decided to name the city Foreman; however, it was William Foreman himself that declined the name that the settlers had proposed. Dr. Dye later searched for a name that was unique to be used as this town’s official name. In the end, the name that was chosen was a Spanish word “Plano,” which translated into English means plain, as in terrain.

How Plano Grew and Prospered

The main trade in Plano was raising livestock and farming cattle. That being said, bit by bit many people began discovering the rich, black soil that the county offered, soil that was ideal for growing and farming crops. Plano was making a beeline for preoperative more local establishments, schools and churches began being built.Plano School photo from 1898

It was towards the end of the 1850s that Plano started being seen as a town with steady growth and prosperity, however in the early 1860s, when the Civil War occurred all of that came to a halt. Once the war ended, people headed back to their now run-down farms in an attempt to start over again.

New settlers from not only the South but also the mechanized North began arriving in Plano and 1872 when the Texas and Houston railroads were finally built; Plano was on its way to further growth and prosperity. The next two years that followed, the population of the county had hit five hundred. It was during this time that Plano also became the very first train station that entered Collin County from the South.

The Incorporation of Plano

In 1873, Plano was incorporated into a city; this was merely another indicator of its growth. In 1881 however, the business district of the city was hit by fire, and most of the original buildings were destroyed, the only building there that survived was the oldest one. However the residents refused to be adversely affected, they helped to rebuild the district and built buildings made of bricks to replace the old wooden structures as well as the ones that had been burnt, this served as a sign of hope for the city.

20th Century and Modern Day Plano

Water fountain in Plano TexasThroughout the century, farming was the main thing that Plano relied on for its growth as well as the citizens’ livelihood. When the 1960s rolled in, the economic growth of Dallas combined with the emergence of high-technology were felt by the city´s economy. The population had multiplied even more by the 1970s, making Plano one of the fastest growing cities in Texas. It seemed almost as if the towns development was unstoppable attracting many businesses professional and executives to move into Plano.

Today Plano is a far cry to the farming community it once was many centuries ago; it is now a well-developed city. That being said, without the spirit of the earliest settlers who first helped put Plano on the Texas map and in their ways made it a prosperous area, Plano would not be here.

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