Plano is a city located in the U.S. state of Texas, mainly within Collin County, but also extending into Denton County. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, the city population was 222,030, making it the ninth largest city in Texas. Plano is within the Dallas–Plano–Irving metropolitan division of the Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington metropolitan area, a title designated by the U.S. Census, and is colloquially referred to as the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. The city is home to many corporate headquarters, including Dr Pepper/Seven Up, Inc., Electronic Data Systems, Frito-Lay, Cinemark Theatres, and JCPenney.
In the early 1840s, several settlers came to the area around Plano. Several nearby facilities including a sawmill, gristmill and a store brought more people to the area. Mail service was established and after rejecting several names for the budding town (including naming it in honor of then-President Millard Fillmore), the locals suggested the name Plano, the Spanish word for “flat,” a reference to the terrain of the area. The name was accepted by the Post Office and Plano was born.
In 1872, the completion of the Houston and Texas Railroad helped to grow the city, increasing the population to more than 500 by 1874. In 1873, the city officially incorporated.
In 1881, a fire raged through the central business district, destroying most of the buildings: 51 in all. However, the town rebuilt itself and business again flourished through the 1880s.
Unlike many of the other Dallas suburbs, which were closer to Dallas itself, the population of Plano initially grew slowly, reaching 1,304 in 1900 and increasing to 3,695 in 1960. By 1970, however, Plano began to feel some of the boom its neighbors experienced following World War II. A series of public works projects and a change in taxes that removed the farming community from the town helped to increase the overall population of Plano. In 1970, the population reached 17,872 and by 1980, the population had exploded to 72,000 people. Almost unbelievably the sewers, schools and street development kept easy pace with this massive increase largely due to Plano’s flat topography, grid layout and excellent planning.
During the 1980s, many large corporations moved their headquarters to Plano, including JC Penney and Frito-Lay, which helped to further grow the city as more people desired to move closer to where they worked. By 1990, the population had reached 128,713 and now dwarfed the county seat of McKinney. In 1994 the city was recognized as an All-America City.
By 2000, the population nearly doubled again to 222,030, making it one of the largest suburbs in the Dallas area. However, the area’s suburban sprawl has pushed beyond Plano and the city’s population is stabilizing. Plano is completely locked in by other municipalities and cannot expand in area, and there is little undeveloped land remaining within the city limits.