Historic Downtown Plano focuses on the citys main mercantile area of Mechanic (Fifteenth Street) and Main (K Avenue) and the surrounding heritage districts of Haggard Park, Old Towne, and the Douglass Community. Incorporated in 1873, downtown Plano has endured at least five major fires, the Great Depression, closure of the interurban railway, and retail and corporate development to the west of the area. In recent years, downtown Plano has benefited from ongoing redevelopment and revitalization as an urban transit village with the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) light rail train service to the area taking us back to those days of old.
The Plano of today would not be recognizable to the pioneers who settled this section of the blackland prairie. Arriving in the early 1840s, these colonists from Tennessee and Kentucky were captivated by Sam Houstons stump speeches about the rich, fertile farmland of North Texas. All of their frontier cemeteries, large and small, are now surrounded by golf courses, subdivisions, and commercial development. The final resting places of Planos pioneers still exist because of the hard work of cemetery associations, civic groups, concerned citizens, the City of Plano Parks Department, and the Plano Conservancy for Historic Preservation. These silent spaces hold a wealth of history that helps tell the story of Planos beginnings as a rural farming community.
The year 1964 was momentous for civil rights as Congress passed the Twenty-fourth Amendment and Texas's own Lyndon B. Johnson unveiled his plan for the Great Society. That same year, the Plano school district integrated, setting an example for the state and nation. The tightknit community banded together through a language fluent to everyone--football. The Wildcats had few winning seasons and no state titles at that time, but with hard work and a trailblazing spirit, coaches Tom Gray and John Clark led the integrated team all the way to state championship victory in 1965. The Plano Conservancy for Historic Preservation, Inc. presents the inspiring story of the Wildcat fight for the title that made Plano a better place to live.
This coloring book features twelve historic locations around Plano, Texas and details their significance in Plano's early history. This book is perfect for both children and adults who want to learn more about the most significant sites around the City of Plano.
This book is currently only available in-person at the Interurban Railway Museum, and is yours for a donation of your choice. All donations will be used to purchase school supplies for Plano ISD elementary schools.
Over a century ago, an industrial America was awakening, and a new transportation technology arrived on the north Texas prairie: electric interurbans. Plano’s Interurban Railway depot was dedicated in July 1908, and electric interurban rail travel began with the creation of the Texas Traction Company. In 1917, three separate systems were connected by a single entrepreneur, J. F. Strickland. Throughout the 1920s, the Texas Electric Railway traveled in and out of Plano carrying riders, mail, and freight. The system was built to travel on existing streetcar tracks and often ran over private rights-of-way between cities. To promote interurban travel, the company created unique cars and special classes of service to appeal to every need. In the post–World War II era, however, the popularity of automobiles ended the important era of electric interurban travel.