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Plano

Plano, Texas

PLANO, TEXAS. Plano is on U.S. Highway 75 fifteen miles north of Dallas in southwestern Collin County. Indians killed early settlers McBain Jameson and Jeremiah Muncey in 1844, but settlers from the Peters colony moving into the area the following year met no further violence. Plano developed on the headrights of Joseph Clepper and colonist Sanford Beck when Kentucky farmer William Forman, after an 1840s scouting trip, moved to Texas with his family. Forman purchased Beck’s survey in 1851, built a general store and several enterprises that formed a focal point for the sparsely settled community, and opened a post office in his home. When the town established a post office in 1852, it considered Forman and Fillmore, for President Millard Fillmore, as possible names, but postal authorities approved Plano, Spanish for “flat,” suggested by Dr. Henry Dye because he understood it to mean “plain,” his description of the surrounding terrain. Plano was platted and incorporated in 1873 and elected a mayor and board of aldermen that year. The public school system was organized in 1891. The Plano Institute, opened in 1882 under the direction of W. F. Mister, and the Plano Academy under Matthew C. Portman, later taken over by the public school system, were private. J. Crittenden Son and E. K. Rudolph published Plano’s first newspaper, the Plano News, beginning in 1874. Early Plano industries included plumbing and stove plants, a garment factory, and an electric-wire factory. Until 1872, when the Houston and Texas Central Railway connected the community to nearby Dallas, the Shawnee Trail, which crossed west Collin County, served as a conduit for another source of area income, cattle. Though an 1881 fire destroyed fifty-two buildings and temporarily reduced Plano to a tent city, new markets opened by 1888, when the St. Louis, Arkansas and Texas Railway Company intersected the Houston and Texas Central, and Plano became a retail outlet for productive blackland-prairie farmers. By 1890 the town had a population of 1,200, two railroads, five white churches and one black, two steam gristmill-cotton gins, three schools, and two newspapers. In 1908 Plano became an interurban stop on the Texas Electric Railroad.

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