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Preserve America is a national initiative in cooperation with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation; the U.S. Departments of Defense, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, and Education; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities; and the President's Council on Environmental Quality.

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Preserve America Community:
Plano, Texas

The community of Plano, Texas (population 222,030) began in the early 1840s when pioneers from Kentucky and Tennessee made their way west. Raising livestock was the principal business in the county, but much of the populace began farming the rich, black land.

During most of the 20th century Plano relied on the surrounding farms and ranches for its livelihood. By the 1960s, the growth of Dallas to the south and the success of several large high-technology firms began to make their influence felt on the local economy, and in the 1970s, Plano became one of the fastest-growing cities in Texas and the nation.

Plano has a lively interest in its heritage and celebrates that history with the annual Blackland Prairie Festival. The goal of the festival is to give visitors the sense of coming to town for a small fair or trade day in the late 1890s or early 1900s. Volunteers in period costume give tours, and visitors can experience many activities of the period, such as dipping candles, making quilts and soaps, and tending farm animals.

Other year-round attractions include the Heritage Farmstead Museum, which includes a 14-room 1891 Victorian farmhouse, windmill, cisterns, gardens, barns, blacksmith shop, henhouse, and country store. More than 20,000 visitors visited the complex last year. Another popular site, the Interurban Railway Museum, tells the story of the electric railway system of North Texas, in use during the first half of the 20th century. Development of the Plano African American Museum is underway.

For more information

City of Plano: www.plano.gov

Heritage Farmstead: www.heritagefarmstead.org

Posted May 14, 2009

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