Between 1960 and 1970, Plano, Texas experienced a population increase of 384 percent. Enrollment for new students skyrocketed, and the Plano Independent School District soon needed more schools. Plano became more progressive, African American students at Douglass High moved to newly integrated Plano High School. In both 1965 and 1967, the Plano Wildcats won the State Championship in football. In 1971, the Wildcats won the State Championship again, followed by one more in 1977. Herbert Hunt continued to build North Texas housing divisions, planning a 3,959 acre development which allowed for the rise of residential and commercial interests in Plano. By 1975, Plano's last cotton gin closed its doors. The city completed the transition from small farming community to bustling urban center. By the end of the decade, Plano's population exceeded 72,000 citizens. Plano has experienced periodic growth since its founding, in no small part due to the transportation systems that have carved their way through the city. Native American trails, stage coach lines, railways, and highways have intersected this area to support heavy expansion and make Plano what it is today. Plano has transformed from a rural, predominately white community to a diverse international city. In fact more than 25% of Plano residents were born outside of the United States.
Texas has a long, romantic history when it comes to railroads. But even though steam engines and streetcars offer nonstop service to Nostalgia City, there’s a dark side to Texas rail. The Black Widow of Fort Worth engineered a fatal double-cross at a railroad crossing. The Mountaineer Madman brought death to the Texas Electric Railway, while the Trolley Bandit terrorized the citizens of El Paso. From a freak accident involving a banana peel to a tragic trip to see Santa Claus, Jeff Campbell and the staff of the Interurban Railway Museum cross the Lone Star State on trains derailed by murder and mayhem.
Did you know that Plano once had a winning semipro baseball team? And its own university, boasting a pagoda imported from Malaysia? Or that the city once proudly proclaimed itself the "Mule Capital of the World'?? Meet the Native American Planoite who walked in space, the African American entrepreneur who prospered in Jim Crow Texas and the man behind the "mystery stone'? uncovered in the Collinwood House. Visit a military tank, a five-hundred-year-old tree and the pioneer cemetery started by a smallpox epidemic. From the town's contributions to World War II to the secrets lurking beneath Collin Creek Mall, unlock the astonishingly large storehouse of Plano's hidden history.
Plano's old homes and businesses are rife with haunted history. Mary Jacobs examines the ghostly fallout of Plano's darkest moments, from the smallpox epidemic to the gruesome Muncey family murders.
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.
Plano's Historic Cemeteries covers over 10 historic cemeteries in the area, with historic background and photos of notable headstones.
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.