Celina is on State Highway 289 and Farm Road 455, fifteen miles northwest of downtown McKinney and twelve miles north of downtown Frisco in northwestern Collin County. It was established in 1879 and named by John T. Mulkey for his native town, Celina, Tennessee. A post office opened in 1881. By 1884 the town had a population of 150, a school, a Methodist church, and a cotton gin and gristmill, as well as several general stores. However, the population declined to a low of fifty in 1892. In 1902, when the St. Louis, San Francisco and Texas Railway reached the area, the town moved to its present location, one mile north of the original site.
Celina was incorporated in 1907. In 1915 it had the first road in the county built exclusively for automobiles, Celina Pike. By that time it also supported two banks, a newspaper, and a municipal water works. In 1921 Lone Star Gas organized the Farmers Gas Company to provide service to small rural towns, including Celina. Three years later Texas Power and Light began service to the town. Like many rural towns, Celina shrank during the Great Depression, from 1,126 in 1920 to 994 in 1940. Following World War II, however, the town grew steadily. In 1950 there were 1,051 residents. By 1980 that number had increased to 1,520 and by 1990 to 1,737. In 2000 the community had 135 businesses and 1,861 inhabitants, and by January 1st of 2009, over 5500 people called Celina home.