History of Plano TX Prior to Settlement
Prior to 1840 Plano, Texas was mostly uninhabited. The geography itself was a flat prairie area referred to as “Blackland Prairie”. The flat terrain was home to tall grasses and herds of grazing bison.
Settlement and Early History of Plano TX
Settlers began to arrive in Plano in the early 1840’s. This was due to land grants being offered that the settlers took advantage of. During it’s early history Plano was a small farming community. In 1872 The Houston and Texas Central Railway arrived which linked the fledgling town to Dallas and Houston and other markets. By 1874 the population was over 500.
Like other small cities, the railroad helped the city to boom and there was a quick transition from subsistence farming to large cattle ranches and cotton farms. The name “Plano” was derived from the Spanish word for “flat” – referring to the local flat prairie terrain. After the post office was established the name became official. The city was officially incorporated in June 1873, just one year after the railway was built there. The first official mayor was C.J.E. Kellner.
In 1881 a large fire hit the central business district and destroyed most of the structures there. Over 51 businesses, basically the entire business district, were completely destroyed. The town quickly rebounded and business flourished throughout the 1880’s. The old wooden buildings were replaced with brick structures. This created a new, modern look for the city which helped it flourish even more.
20th Century Plano, Texas
Throughout the early part of the 20th century surrounding farms and ranches provided Plano’s revenues. Plano had a population of 1,304 in 1900. More than twice the population it had in 1874.
By 1960 the population had increased to 3,695. This was due to regular growth as well as the large growth of neighboring Dallas. City planners began to prepare to make Plano an attractive community for high tech companies and changes in taxes and public work projects moved the farming community further away, thus increasing the population density. The flat topography helped sewers and streets planning and installation and the city planners implemented a grid system. In the large US population shift of the 70’s Plano became one of the fastest growing cities in the US. It was very similar to the growth many cities experience post WWII. In 1970 the population hit 17,872!
Plano’s growth continued unabated. By 1980 the census reported a population over 72,000. Many large US corporations moved their headquarters to Plano further increasing growth. The population in 1990 reached 128,713.
Modern Plano History
By 2000, Plano’s population was at 222,030. As of the 2010 census, Plano now has over 250,000 denizens. Click here for more Plano TX demographics.
For more information, visit the Plano Conservancy. A great organization that helps share the history and nature of Plano. They always have a great walking tour or nature event ready for the whole family.