In the 1840s a group of settlers from Teneessee and Kentucky started to occupy the area around what is modern day Plano. During this time the settlers were continually attacked by local Indian tribes. This caused the settlers to be scared around the area and unorganized.
In 1846, a merchant named William Foreman bought a huge land tract in the area to establish a new sawmill and gristmill business. Foreman opened the businesses with the intention of supporting the basic needs of the people who had already been occupying the area. Foreman’s mills helped encourage the influx of new settlers into the area. This also led to additional businesses being established in the coming years.
Because of the presence of several businesses in the area during the early 19thcentury, this continued to attract more people to this growing area, which quickly became one of the fastest growing towns in Texas. Foreman established the first mail service in 1850. Foreman’s house was used as the unofficial post.
The naming of the area which became Plano
As of 1850, the area still remained nameless. One of its settlers and the first physician in the area, Dr. Dye wanted the area to have a proper name and sent a request to Washington DC. The first proposed name was Fillmore after the American President, but it was rejected. Settlers decided to go with the name Foreman as the city’s name. But William Foreman himself declined the settlers’ name proposal. Later on, Dr. Dye searched for a very unique name which could be used as the official name of the town. And the chosen name was the word “Plano” which means “plain” (as in the type of terrain) in Spanish.
The story of Plano’s growth and prosperity
Plano’s chief trade rested on cattle farming and livestock raising. However, more and more people discovered the county’s rich, black soil that was suitable for growing and farming crops. Plano was on its way to further prosperity – more schools, and churches began to be built as well as local business establishments. Toward the end of 1850s Plano was a picture of steady growth and prosperity, but business came to a halt when the Civil War occurred in the early 1860s. After the war, the people made their return to their run-down farms to start their lives anew. New settlers from both South and the mechanized North came to Plano to as well. Plano was on its way to further growth when the Houston and Texas railroads were finally built in 1872; by the next two years later the county’s population had ballooned to 500. Plano also became the first train station entering Collin County by the south.
Incorporation of Plano
Plano was incorporated into a city in 1873, further signaling its growth. However, in 1881 a fire ravaged the city’s business district and destroyed most of the original buildings; only the oldest building there survived the blaze. But the residents couldn’t be daunted, and helped reconstruct the district with buildings made of bricks, replacing the old and burned wooden structures – a sign and new hope for the city.
Plano in the 20th century, and today
Throughout the century Plano relied on its growth and the livelihood of its citizens mostly through farming. By the 1960s, the economic growth of Dallas as well as the advent of high-technology made their presence felt on the city’s own economy. By the 1970s the population had further multiplied, making it one of Texas’ fastest-growing cities. The development of the city seemed so unstoppable that many business professionals and executives also moved to Plano.
Today, Plano is a well-developed city, a far cry to the once-farming community many centuries back. However, Plano wouldn’t be where it is now without the spirit of the earlier settlers who had put Plano on the Texas map in the first place, and made it into a prosperous area in their own way.
Some interesting facts about Plano
1. In 2007, Plano was listed as the biggest city in the Collin County, in terms of population. The number amounted to over 260,000 people who called Plano home.
2. According to the US Census Bureau, the average household income of Plato is among the highest in the country ($84,492).
3. National Civic League named Plato as the “All American City”
4. Renowned companies such as J.C. Penny and Frito Lay have their headquarters in Plano.
5. Plano is indeed an economically healthy city that has a vibrant community. At present, Plano operates about 68 schools, and its public library is home to about nearly 700,000 books. Plano also boasts 3,600 acres of parks, playground, hike and bike trails, proof that the city isn’t only amenable for business, but it’s also a place for pleasure, fun and relaxation as well.
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