railroad tracks

Plano, Texas, established in the early 1840s, is the ninth largest city in Texas and is located about 20 minutes from downtown Dallas. Plano is a thriving city, home to a number of Fortune 1,000 companies and an educated and culturally diverse population.

Plano also has an abundance of open spaces, including 85 parks and 98 miles of bicycle and walking trails. Thanks to railroad expansion, Plano became the center of farm trading in the 1800s and was incorporated on June 2, 1873. The city now covers about 72 square miles. 

You can learn about Plano’s rich history by visiting some of the historical sites below. 

The Interurban Railway Museum

Learn about Plano’s electric railway history at the Interurban Railway Museum. This free museum offers interactive scientific exhibits suitable for any age encompassing “magnetism, electrical generators, battery circuits, and high voltage visualization.”

The museum’s permanent exhibits include a 1920s O-scale model of Plano’s area. The Interurban Railway Museum also houses a research center containing photos, books, and other documents focusing on electric train transportation in North Central Texas from 1908 to 1948. Library visitors can also learn about early United States trolley and train systems. The museum’s address is 901 East 15th Street.

The Heritage Farmstead Museum

The Heritage Farmstead Museum contains approximately 10,000 objects in its exhibits of farm tools and objects from Blackland Prairie life from the late 19th to the early 20th century. The museum’s tool collection includes those used in livestock management, potting, farming, and curing. The museum staff presents interested visitors with Victorian-era blacksmith demonstrations. Victorian-era textiles and costumes also make up a large portion of the exhibits.

During your Heritage Farmstead Museum visit, stop by the Young House, built by the Sam Young family that relocated to the area in the 1840s. Young’s daughter Gladys spent her whole life in this home, living without the convenience of indoor plumbing. The home finally received electricity in 1998.

The Heritage Farmstead Museum includes a library on its 4.5 acres that offers a variety of historical books, including information about local Native Americans. Read up about Victorian and prairie life as well. The museum’s address is 1900 West 15th Street.

The Fred Schimelpfenig Building

If you’re out and about, stop by the Fred Schimelpfenig historical building, which was built in 1884. Originally a dry goods store, the building has gone through several transitions since its inception. The building transformed from a dry goods business site to house businesses such as Plano Furniture, Nooks ‘n Krannies, and a handful of tearooms. The building is located at 1017 East 15th Street. 

Mathews General Store

Locals built the Mathews General store after the Great Fire of 1895. This store’s owners sold dry goods and clothing, including hats made by Nancy Mathews and her daughters. The building went on to become a department store before transitioning to other businesses. Running bond and corbelled brick make up this structure’s construction. Sherman Iron Works designed and built some of its other elements. This building has housed commercial businesses since its establishment and is located at 1013 East 15th Street. 

Plano National Bank/I.O.O.F. Lodge

The Plano National Bank and the Odd Fellows Lodge (I.O.O.F.) came together to build this structure in 1896. The building has gone through transformations such as the addition of art deco elements in 1936. It was remodeled again in 1958, but a subsequent renovation in the 1980s returned it to its former art deco design, showcasing Czechoslovakian black Carrara glass. It became a historic landmark in 1993 and is located at 1001 East 15th Street. 

Texas Electric Railway Station

Built in 1908, the Texas Electric Railway Station transported passengers and cargo along railway routes in North Texas. This railway and its accompanying passenger depot flourished until 1948, when its customers changed to automobiles as their preferred method of transportation. This railway station became a historic landmark in 1990. It is located at 901 East 15th Street, which is also the home of the Interurban Railway Museum.

W.D. McFarlin Building

W.D. McFarlin purchased this building in 1885. After a fire destroyed it in 1895, he rebuilt it in brick, and it later became home to Schoolfield Drugs. The building also housed a grocery store, a dry goods store, and other businesses. While these companies changed hands, the building itself remained in the McFarlin family for 65 years. The building’s location is 1011 East 15th Street.

The Saigling House

Celestine (Pillot) Saigling and her husband, Charles Frederick Saigling, moved their family to the Plano area in 1881. After Charles’ death, Celestine had her second home, the Saigling House, built in 1918 to accommodate her grown children who lived with her and their spouses. 

The two-story home is significant as a historical site as it reflects characteristics of craftsman style architecture. With its side gabled roof, the home contains several firsts — it was the area’s first home built with a brick veneer, the first home with a basement, and the first with central heating by way of a coal burning furnace. The house changed hands several times until the city of Plano acquired it in 2012. This property’s location is 902 East 16th Street. 

The Plano High School and Gymnasium

Known in 1882 as the Plano Institute, the city purchased this building in 1891 and ran it as a school. Since then, the building has held several names — the Cox Junior High School, the Cox Administration Building, and the present-day Cox Building. Officials added a gymnasium through the Works Progress Administration in 1938. The building and its gymnasium became a Texas Historic Landmark in 2006. Styles found in this building are mixed but include mission and classical. The Cox Building is located at 1517 H. Avenue. 

After your day of sightseeing, drop by Huffines Hyundai of Plano to explore our selection of new and used cars. If you have a favorite historical site in Plano, Texas, that’s not included in this list, we invite you to let us know! Send us an email or tell us when you visit, and we’ll add it to our list.

Image via Flickr by TexasExplorer98


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