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Gladys Harrington and the Federation of Church Women of Plano began a library in 1955. It was based on donations of books and money. May 24, 1965 the City Council passed an ordinance to create the Municipal Library and appoint a Board of Trustees.

The first library was opened June 2, 1969 and named Gladys Harrington Public Library. The library began with 15,033 volumes which includes books, magazines, and whatever else they checked out at that time. Today, we have over 767,000 items in the 5 libraries, Municipal Reference Library, and the Genealogy Center – books, audios, DVDs, periodicals, eBooks, kits of all kinds, reference, local history, and more. This is just the items we have. We also offer many services – all kinds of classes and programs for all ages, 3D printing, Book a Librarian, Book Scanner, Research assistance, Computer Skills, Digital Creation Spaces, eLibrary, Foreign Language, Genealogy, Interlibrary Loan, Notary, WiFi, Rent a Room, and the list goes on.

Schimelpfenig Library opened May 25, 1980. On May 1, 1989 the Haggard Library opened. August 17, 1998 Davis Library opened and April 1, 2001 was the Parr Library. The Municipal Reference Library opened in the Municipal City Hall in July of 1991. The Genealogy Center moved from the Harrington Library to the Haggard Library in January 2008. Come visit one of the libraries today or checkout our ENGAGE brochure online to see what we are offering. Summer Reading and programs are just around the corner.


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Plano C of C002aThe completion of Highway 75 brought many changes to Plano. Highway 75 connected McKinney to Dallas and included Plano. New subdivisions were being built near Plano High School now Williams High School. People from Dallas wanted to move to a quieter area to live and picked Plano. Most of the streets were paved in 1925. 15th Ave. was widened in 1959 for a smooth flow of traffic to get to 75. The first zoning ordinances began in August 1956 to help with the haphazard placement of businesses and residences. New boundaries were created for appropriate land uses.

The city marshal was the only law enforcement until 1957 when the Police Department was organized. The mayor was still the recorder of citations to traffic violators and misdemeanor cases. He would receive a portion of the fines he assessed. In 1959, Mayor David McCall, Jr. saw that this was an obsolete system and created an ordinance creating the position of the first corporation court judge. Attorney Byron Schaff was the first judge and paid a salary. In 1961, the home rule City Charter was adopted. This made Plano on par with other major cities in Texas.

The City of Plano population in 1870 was 155. Between 1870 and 1950, it fluctuated from 1000 to 2000. People moved into and out of Plano during this time. The population began to increase from the 1960s once Highway 75 was built. In 1960 the population was 3,695 and was known as the fastest growing city of Collin County. By 1970, the population had increased 384% from 1960 to 17,872. There was another 304% growth over the next 10 years to 72,331 in 1980. By the year 2000 the population was 222,030. During the 1960s and 1970s the city council and school board were working very hard to keep up with the demands for school buildings, roads, water and sewers, and so much more. New businesses were moving into the area. This growth caused the boundaries of Plano to grow from the east side of 75 to the west and further north and south.

The Genealogy Center has many documents, books, and photographs to give you an idea of the growth and life in Plano and Collin County. Be sure to visit the Haggard Library and come downstairs to see the Genealogy Center. Many items can be viewed online at Collin County Images, http://glhtadigital.contentdm.oclc.org/.

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In January 1923 the work of the city is divided into – city marshal, city engineer, and commissioner of streets, water and sewerage. City Marshal makes $50 per month, he is the peace officer and assesses and collects city taxes. City Engineer is paid $200 a month, he takes care of the water supply. The Commissioner of Streets, Water, and Sewerage is paid $100 per month, he drags the streets as needed, repairs bridges and culverts, check for water leaks, reads meters, looks after sewers, and bills and collects them. The City Engineer and Commissioner were employed by the city and could be removed by them if they failed to do their jobs.

In 1931 the city was in excellent financial condition. Mayor J. T. Horn recommended a raise for the aldermen to $60 and the mayor $144 per year. The city needed more water. A second well was drilled at a cost of $7,500.


A group of boys in the late 1920’s known as the Twenty Tough Tamales or T. T. T.’s were well known. The Tamales did many kind deeds in secret so as not to blow their tough image. They were never destructive just mischievous. A stop sign was erected during Mayor J. T. Horn’s terms. He instructed the City Marshal to “nab” people running it. The Marshal tried to catch the T.T.T.s running the stop sign. But he never could so he tried bringing them to court. They couldn’t prove anything.

Not long after this, Mayor Horn went to open his store and found a farm wagon on the metal awning of his store. He had to dismantle it to get it down. He couldn’t prove it was the Tamales although everyone suspected them. They were all in school that morning but did look sleepy.

A. R. Schell (Alex) Schell Jr. - pic (3)

The city’s next mayor was Alex Schell, Jr. He was mayor from April 5, 1932 to April 1948. He did many things for the city. “New water mains were laid, a disposal plant was built, he appointed the first Planning and Zoning Commission, he and City Council hired the first professional property appraisers for tax purposes, the first industry came to Plano, and he was instrumental in the development and acquisition of Lavon Reservoir as the source of water for Plano.”

Mr. Schell continued to work on Lavon Reservoir project. In 1951 the North Texas Municipal Water District was organized and he served on the board from 1951-1964. Plano began getting its water from Lavon in 1957. Mr. Alex Schell, Jr. was elected the first Outstanding Citizen by the Chamber of Commerce.

Next week we’ll look at the completion of Highway 75 and the changes that brought to Plano. If you want to learn more about the city council, mayors, and aldermen, check out the Plano, Texas Early Years found at the Plano Public Libraries to buy or checkout.

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The first bond issue for the City of Plano was in July 1891. It was to raise $7,000 for school building improvements. At this time the city was in charge of the schools in Plano. The mayor and aldermen were the board of directors of the school. One of the rules for the students – the playground was set up to be separate for the boys and girls. They were not allowed to communicate with each other unless the superintendent gave permission.

In 1892 the streets needed to be repaired. An ordinance was passed that those owing fines and could not pay them would work on repairing the streets. In 1893 the council was trying to pass ordinances to control how the businesses and buildings in downtown were built to avoid any more fires. This was probably the first of the building and zoning codes of Plano. The Plano Fire Department was formed in March 1894. In June 1895 you could be fined $100 for riding a bicycle or tricycle on the public sidewalks.

Plano’s first true water supply came from a small lake created by damming up Spring Creek in June 1897. The first electric plant and lights were begun in May 1899. In January 1900, the Southwestern Telegraph and Telephone Company constructed poles and wires in Plano. In September 1901, the office of the scavenger was created. He cleaned the closets (outhouses) in the city both residences and businesses.  He also kept the calaboose clean. He was paid $.35 for residences and $.50 for hotels, businesses and such. I think this would be the worst job ever.

April 7, 1908 J. M. Willis was the mayor. In 1909 the Interurban electric car could only go 8 mph within the city and had to stop every 4 blocks to pick-up passengers. The City began collecting trash from residences in 1909. Also in 1909 a sewage system was started. One of my favorite ordinances to find was the speed limit was set for 7 mph for automobiles. Then in 1910 it was “modernized” to 8 mph. A person riding or driving a horse still had the right of way. All automobiles had to have a bell and a lighted lamp on front and back of the car.

April 2, 1912 J. D. Harris becomes the mayor. In 1914 the city was in a crisis and had to borrow $150 to pay some bills. It would be repaid from first taxes collected. April 1914 R. H. Crawford was mayor; then April 30, 1915 J. D. Cottrell; April 1916 was J. R. Dickerson; April 4, 1922 G. E. Carpenter; and April 8. 1924 J. T. Horn was mayor for 8 years.

Come back next week to see what happens to J. T. Horn and how the City Council and Plano faired after its first 50 years.


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The City of Plano was incorporated on June 2, 1873. The first city council minutes were from 1881. On April 22, 1881, Mayor C. J. E. Kellner’s saddlery shop became the place for the City Council meetings, the Mayor’s office, and City Court. Kellner was paid $10 a year in rental fees. T. R. Keene was the city secretary and the Aldermen were Daniel O. Williams, Joseph C. Hudson, Joseph Forman, and John Bench Klepper. In 1881 ordinances began to be passed. One big problem in the town was the obstruction of passage on the sidewalks. Those who blocked the path with boxes or articles from stores, hitching horses, or other means would be fined $2. The finances were lacking so the Aldermen created some fund raising by charging businesses, persons selling spirits, lawyers and more an occupational tax. There were 36 categories.

In August 1881 parts of the city ordinances were lost in a fire in Kellner’s back room. An ordinance was created requiring the city marshal to inspect chimneys, fireplaces, etc. in use for necessary repairs. There was also an ordinance not throw paper, sawdust, or any material into the street. It would need to be burned with watchful care to prevent any fire damages.

George F. Thomas, attorney, was elected mayor on April 19, 1882. The city purchased a “calaboose” (jail) on July 18, 1882 for $50. Most of the elections for mayors were in April

W. B. Blalack (Blaylack) was elected 3 different times. J. B. Klepper and Olney Davis were elected in between Blalack. W. D. McFarlin was elected April 5, 1898. He became the Justice of Peace later and known as the “marrying judge”. Fred Schimelpfenig was elected in 1902. He was known for laying the water mains and distribution of water to homes and businesses in Plano. The Interurban Railroad was built. The council and he urged the county to build good roads throughout countylivery stable during his time as mayor.

Comeback next week, to learn what other early mayors did for the City of Plano. The photograph of the firemen and livery stable is from 1905. The livery stable for the horses and wagon was also the City Hall and the Calaboose.

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collin county 1851

When Texas became a republic in 1836, there were 180 million acres of unoccupied land. Texas needed to attract volunteers to the Texas army and bring in settlers. The government provided land grants as bounties to soldiers, headright to settlers, premiums to colonizers, and “land script” to individuals. Public lands were used to entice industries to come to Texas. Veterans of the Texas Revolution were eligible for land. If married they received 4,605 acres and if they were single they received half that.

In 1841, Congress of the Republic gave large land grants to immigration agents if they would establish colonies in Texas. One such group was the Peters’ Colony later called Texan Emigration and Land Company. They brought settlers into the Collin County area. Texas population grew from 30,000 in 1836 to about 135,000 in 1846 (100,000 whites and 35,000 slaves). In this area the Indians were not so hostile as in other parts of Texas. The soil was easy to cultivate and there was sufficient timber and water. There was large amount of wild game, fish, nuts, fruits, and honey. Collin County was also accessible by routes going through Texas.

Red River County was created on March 17, 1836 at the time it included 39 present day counties of northeast Texas. Fannin County was created December 14, 1837 out of a portion of Red River County. Its county seat was Bonham. It included five counties which would later be carved out. On December 29, 1945 Texas became a state of the Union. Between March 17 and April 11, 1846 Collin, Grayson, Dallas, Hunt, and Denton Counties were created.

Collin County was created by an act of the legislature on April 3, 1846. On January 24, 1848 defined the northern boundaries. Buckner was chosen as the first county seat but the legislature did not approve. It was changed to McKinney on March 16, 1848.

The population of Collin County in 1850 was 1,950 including 134 slaves. In 1860 the population had grown to 9,264. The Civil War slowed down the growth. In 1870 the population was 14,013. In 1900 the population was 50,087. The towns in early Collin County were Allen, Anna, Blue Ridge, Celina, Copeville, Farmersville, Frisco, Josephine, Lavon, McKinney, Mantua (until about 1873), Melissa, Millwood (until about 1907), Murphy, Nevada, Plano, Princeton, Prosper, Renner, Westminister, Weston, and Wylie.

This information was pulled from A History of Collin County, Texas by Stambaugh and Stambaugh. For more information on Collin County and the towns visit the Genealogy Center at the Haggard Library. “This map is part of the collection entitled: GLO Historic County Maps and was provided by Texas General Land Office to The Portal to Texas History, a digital repository hosted by the UNT Libraries.”

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