Plano Starter Kit
7 mins read

Plano Starter Kit

Explore your city with materials, resources, and programs from Plano Public Library.

Plano Public Library offers everything you need to learn a new skill, develop a new hobby, and pursue a new career. Can you say ‘sesquicentennial’? This month’s Starter Kit is dedicated to the 150th anniversary of the City of Plano! Founded in 1873, Plano has ballooned from a tiny farming village into the ninth-largest city in Texas. Whether you’re a Plano trivia expert or a new resident, we’ve dedicated programming to celebrate our city’s rich history and explore its future.

Upcoming Events

Join us for our all-ages roster of Plano 150th Anniversary programs leading up to the City-wide celebration on June 3rd!

Plano Museum Day (all ages)

Learn about the history of Plano with interactive museum activities presented by Heritage Farmstead and the Interurban Railway Museum. See items from the Genealogy Center Archives collection.

This program will be held at Harrington Library on Sunday, May 7 at 2pm.

A Matter of Time (all ages)

What did Plano look like in the past, where are we now and how will our city look in the future? Take a journey through time and create a personal time capsule.

This program will be held at Haggard Library on Sunday, May 14 at 2pm.

Up in the Air (all ages)

Discover the wonder of hot air ballooning! Hear the history of one of the most popular annual events in Plano and the science behind the hot air balloon.

This program will be held at Parr Library on Saturday, May 20 at 3pm.

I am Plano: Community Art Project (all ages)

At 150, Plano is a diverse and dynamic community. Show us what Plano looks like today. Learn about the original ”selfies” and use collage to create a self-portrait.

This program will be held at Davis Library on Saturday, May 27 at 3pm. Come 30 minutes beforehand to pick up your free ticket.

Games of Yesteryear (all ages)

Have fun with the games people used to play and learn a bit of history along the way. Feel free to come dressed in old-fashioned attire.

This program will be held at Schimelpfenig Library on Friday, June 30 at 3pm.


Haunted Plano, Texas by Mary Jacobs: Plano’s old homes and businesses are rife with haunted histories. Explore eerie urban legends like the Goat Man, the Clown Threat, and Ranch 111, where devil worshipers performed their rituals. The Evaporating Apparition spooked the staff at the Art Centre Theatre, while the grumpy spirit of an old rancher stalks the Masonic Lodge. Some specters are harmless, such as the Giggling Ghost, a little girl in the Cox Building with a penchant for peanut butter and pranks. Other figures own a more sinister reputation. The Witch Lady of Plano was feared by city youth and monitored by the FBI. Mary Jacobs examines the ghostly fallout of Plano’s darkest moments, from the smallpox epidemic to the gruesome Muncey family murders. | Print | eBook |

Historic Downtown Plano by Janice Craze Cline: Historic Downtown Plano focuses on the city’s main mercantile area of Mechanic (Fifteenth Street) and Main (K Avenue) and the surrounding heritage districts of Haggard Park, Old Towne, and the Douglass Community. Incorporated in 1873, downtown Plano has endured at least five major fires, the Great Depression, the closure of the interurban railway, and retail and corporate development to the west of the area. In recent years, downtown Plano has benefited from ongoing redevelopment and revitalization as an urban transit village with the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) light rail train service to the area–taking us back to those days of old. | Print |

Plano’s Historic Cemeteries by the Plano Conservancy for Historic Preservation: The Plano of today would not be recognizable to the pioneers who settled this section of the Blackland Prairie. Arriving in the early 1840s, these colonists from Tennessee and Kentucky were captivated by Sam Houston’s stump speeches about the rich, fertile farmland of North Texas. All of their frontier cemeteries, large and small, are now surrounded by golf courses, subdivisions, and commercial development. The final resting places of Plano’s pioneers still exist because of the hard work of cemetery associations, civic groups, concerned citizens, the City of Plano Parks Department, and the Plano Conservancy for Historic Preservation. These silent spaces hold a wealth of history that helps tell the story of Plano’s beginnings as a rural farming community. | Print |

Hidden History of Plano by Mary Jacobs: 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. | Print | eBook |

Plano and the Interurban Railway by the Plano Conservancy for Historic Preservation: 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. | Print |

Online Materials

Discovering Old Plano Workshop – Learn about the hidden history of Old Plano! Explore notable people, places, and stories of the early years of Plano.

Online Genealogy Resources – The Genealogy Center provides links to over 40 genealogy-related sites to aid you in your research Link A valid Plano Library card is required to access these databases from outside the library. Some databases are available in library only.

Collin County Images – Photographs, documents, and other archive material representing people and places of Collin County.

We hope this resource list is beneficial to your personal and professional goals. View other Starter Kit blog posts to explore more ways to enrich your life. You can find all of this and more at your local Plano Public Library.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *