City of Plano History

Plano Today

Plano, Texas, is the largest city in Collin County with a population of more than 270,000. Located just 20 miles north of Dallas, Plano offers a dynamic community with excellent nationally recognized schools, 4,000 acres of parks, excellence in public safety, vibrant arts scene, historic downtown, entertainment districts, diverse cultural offerings, popular retail and thriving economy.  Impressed by the meticulous planning and development of Plano, several multinational corporations and Fortune 500 companies such as: HP, Frito-Lay, Dr Pepper/Snapple, Capital One, Ericsson, Toyota, JC Penney choose to call Plano home.  Easy access to major highways, light rail, DART, DFW Airport and 3 regional airports makes Plano a sought after destination to work, play, live and visit.


How did it Begin?

Before settlement, the area was Blackland Prairie covered horizon to horizon by tall grasses, wildflowers and grazing herds of bison. In the 1840s, the first settlers came to Plano to take advantage of land grants. Plano remained a small rural farming community throughout most of its early history. The arrival of the Houston and Texas Central Railway in 1872 linked the town to Dallas and Houston and new markets. Subsistence farming transitioned to large cotton farms and cattle ranches. 

By 1874 the population numbered over 500. Plano was the first depot by rail entering Collin County by the south. The city was incorporated in June, 1873, and the town's first official mayor was C.J.E. Kellner. Fires in the business district destroyed the original buildings that were constructed with the coming of the railroad; the oldest structure in the district was the only building to survive the fire of 1881 in which 51 places of business were destroyed--the entire business district. Plano's determined businessmen would not be beaten, however, and after a short time of "business as usual," the reconstruction period began. Old burned and wooden structures were replaced with modern brick buildings and a new look of prosperity took place. Buildings and business flourished in the 1880's. Almost anything would be bought or traded in Plano.

Throughout much of this century Plano relied on surrounding farms and ranches for its livelihood. By the 1960s, the growth of both Dallas to the south and the success of several large high-technology firms began to make their influence felt on the  local economy and city planners began making preparations for the growth they believed was inevitable. When the U.S. population began its historic shift in the 1970s, Plano welcomed newcomers with open arms and this resulted in Plano being one of the fastest-growing cities in Texas and the U.S.

Impressed by the meticulous planning and development of the city and the positive attitude of the local business community, many professionals and executives began moving to the city.  Today Plano looks and is much changed from the city of just a generation ago, but the growth of the city and the nature of its spirit can be traced back to those first settlers who came to the area 150 years ago.

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