Settlers came to the area near present-day Plano in the early 1840s. Facilities such as a sawmill, a gristmill, and a store soon 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 (from the Spanish word for “flat”), a reference to the local terrain. The name was accepted by the post office. In 1872, the completion of the Houston and Central Texas Railway helped the city grow, and the city was officially incorporated in 1873. The population grew to more than 500 by 1874. In 1881, a fire raged through the central business district, destroying most of the buildings. The town was rebuilt and business again flourished through the 1880s. Also in 1881, the city assumed responsibility for what will eventually become Plano Independent School District (PISD), ending the days of Plano being served only by private schools.
The population of Plano initially grew slowly, reaching 1,304 in 1900 and increasing to 3,695 in 1960. By 1970, Plano began to feel some of the boom its neighbors had 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 increase the overall population of Plano. In 1970, the population reached 17,872, and by 1980, the population had exploded to 72,000. Sewers, schools and street development kept pace with this massive increase, largely due to Plano’s flat topography, grid layout and planning initiatives.
In 1981 the Plano City Council adopted the City’s official logo based on a design submitted via a community contest by long-time Plano resident James R. (Jim) Wainner, a professional artist and graphic designer. City of Plano Code of Ordinances, Chapter 2, Article I, Section 2-1 (b) states that no person, firm, organization, or corporation other than the city shall adopt, use, display, incorporate, or appropriate the official logo of the city as any part of any material, equipment, or other matter of such person, firm, organization or corporation, without written application to and approval of the city council.
During the 1980s, many large corporations moved their headquarters to Plano, including J. C. Penney and Frito-Lay, which helped the city grow. By 1990, the population reached 128,713, dwarfing the county seat of McKinney. In 1994, the city was recognized as an All-America City. By 2000, the population grew to 222,030, making it one of the largest suburbs of Dallas. Plano is completely locked in by other municipalities and cannot expand in area, and there is little undeveloped land remaining within the city limits. However, one large tract of land is being developed as of July 2012. Turnpike Commons at the intersection of Renner Rd and the George Bush Turnpike (bordered also by Shiloh Rd to the east). The development will feature apartments, medical facilities, restaurants, a Race Trac gas station, and a hotel.