From its founding in the 1870s through the mid-20th Century, Downtown Plano was the heart of this small farming community. Plano citizens and surrounding Collin County residents came Downtown to access the cities of Dallas or Sherman by rail, to shop for household goods, and for access to critical services at the local hospital, school, and governmental offices.
Post-war development had a major impact, as it did on so many other American downtowns. Commuter rail service stopped operations. Through the 1970s, the geographic and commercial center of the City moved west with new growth, and Downtown Plano evolved into a place to buy knick knacks and antiques, losing much of the draw it once enjoyed. While City offices remained, the blocks were filled with dilapidated storefronts. By the mid-1980s, City leaders recognized the area’s need and took action upgrading sidewalks, streets and creating the first Downtown Vision plan.
Through a few decades of hard work and committed citizens, Downtown has reemerged as an exciting and vibrant place. Through the last decade, it has been reborn with a variety of shops, housing, light rail transit, offices, and restaurants. The ghost town after 5:00 pm is gone, yet the history of Downtown and its small-town Texas, eclectic charm remains. The re-invigoration of Downtown continues with the support of its neighbors, merchants, and active supporters.