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History

History

Lured by the rich soil of Texas’ Blackland Prairie, the first settlers arrived in Plano in the early 1840s to take advantage of government land grants. Pioneers from Kentucky and Tennessee built a small farming community, and with the help of prominent local advocate Dr. Henry Dye, established a post office in 1850.

Dye suggested to government officials in Washington that the post office be named Fillmore, but the name was rejected. Dye then chose the name Plano believing the word meant “plain” in Spanish. Washington accepted the name and the community has been Plano ever since.

In 1872, the Houston and Texas Central Railway arrived linking Plano with Dallas and Houston – opening the door to new economic markets. Plano’s small agricultural farms grew into large cotton farms and cattle ranches. Recognizing the steady growth of the area, in 1873 the Texas Legislature passed an act incorporating the City of Plano in Collin County.

A devastating fire in 1881 consumed the entire downtown business district of Plano. Only a saloon on the west side of the railroad tracks remained. The city continued to be cursed by several other fires until brick buildings were built and filled the area around the turn of the century.

In 1908, the Texas Electric Railroad came to Plano bringing with it new industries. Garment factories, a box factory and plumbing and stove plants made their home in the growing town. In 1940, the population was recorded at 1,582, and in 1946, the Plano Chamber of Commerce was established to serve the expanding business community.

The construction of North Central Expressway in 1960 marked a new era for Plano. Linking the city with downtown Dallas, this major transportation artery contributed to Plano’s explosive growth bringing both new residents and new businesses.

The city’s accelerated development is nowhere more evident than its rapid population growth expanding from 18,872 in 1970 to 72,331 in 1980, and to 222,030 in 2000.

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