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Plano has grown tremendously since it was founded in the 1800s. Starting as a small community of farmers, Plano has grown to a city of almost 300,000 people. As part of this month’s #ArchivesHashtagParty, we’re comparing photos of the same location during Plano’s past and present. Do you recognize these #ArchivesOnMyStreet locations?

J.W. Shepard Mule Barn – 1408 Avenue J

J. W. Shepard’s Mule Barn rented out horses, buggies, or both. Shepard also raised and sold mules all over the United States.  He was instrumental in starting the well-known and popular Second Monday Trades Day, where people came from all around Plano to buy, trade, or sell livestock and farm machinery.

Today on that spot you’ll find the North Texas Masonic Historical Museum & Library, apartments, and a parking lot to accommodate visitors to downtown Plano.

H. & T.C. Depot – 14th Street

The arrival of the Houston & Texas Central Railroad in 1872 put Plano on the map. The railroad meant farmers had a cheaper way to get their produce to market than using horse and buggy. This postcard of the freight depot also shows the Moore House, where school was taught before the establishment of the Plano school system.

Nowadays, the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) light rail train has run on the tracks. Since 2002, it has taken passengers to downtown Dallas and beyond. At 93 miles of tracks, the DART light rail is the longest light rail system in the United States.

Paving 15th Street (1924) and Old Settlers’ Picnic Parade (15th Street from Avenue K, 1929)

In 1922, West Mechanic Street was oiled – a precursor to the paving of 15th Street in 1924. Since the downtown streets were the main passages of transporting goods to the stores to sell to the citizens, paving the major streets became very important.

One of the biggest celebrations in Plano, Old Settlers’ Picnic, was a multi-day affair that drew people from all over Collin County. The celebrations started with a parade that traveled through the downtown area where 15th Street and Avenue K meet and ended at the City Park, now called Harrington Park, where a picnic incorporated a carnival, music, and contests.

15th Street is still a vibrant hub of activity in Plano. Stores and restaurants line the street, while Plano Arts & Events hosts music and other cultural events in the Downtown Plano District.

Plano Fire Suppression team prior to 1887 and Firemen Replicating the First Photograph (2011 to celebrate 125 years)

The first official fire brigade in Plano was established in 1887, with the purchase of a hook and ladder wagon and buildings for fire equipment storage coming soon after. This photograph shows the first fireman standing in line at what was considered the center of town. In the early years, a fireman had to live within a mile of the town center in order to hear and answer the call for help.

To celebrate the 125-year anniversary of the first fire team, the fireman of 2011 stood at Avenue K and 15th Street to replicate the first photograph, complete with a firetruck in the background. The building does look slightly different. The building was rebuilt and eventually remodeled. Over the years this has changed its shape.

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