McKinney (1841) is one of the oldest North Texas towns. It was named for Collin McKinney, who was born in New Jersey in 1766. His family moved to Kentucky while he was still a child.
In 1794, McKinney married Amy Moore and they had four children, but two of them died in infancy. After his first wife died in 1804, he married Betsey Coleman who birthed seven additional children. During this time he was named magistrate, holding this position until moving to Texas.
When Collin moved his family to Tennessee, Senator George Washington Campbell hired him to manage his estate after the Senator was appointed Minister to Russia. This position gave McKinney the opportunity to meet influential people and when he moved to the Red River District a few years later he was acknowledged as a political figure.
At a convention meeting at Old Washington-on-the-Brazos several years later, Collins and four representatives were asked to write a declaration of separation from Mexico. This became known as the Texas Declaration of Independence and bears McKinney's signature.
Here are some highlights from his life:
*He later went on to serve the Red River District in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Congresses of the Republic.
*Served as a guide from 1844-46 for settlers in North Texas who were moving from Kentucky and Arkansas, making this trip 11 times on horseback.
*Moved his family to the area near Anna, Texas around 1846 and soon after the county was renamed Collin County*
*In 1848 the county seat moved from Buckner and was renamed McKinney in his honor.
Collin McKinney died on September 8, 1861 at the age of 95 and is buried in a marked grave in a cemetery at Van Alstyne.
Information came from mcKinneytx.com
The gentleman honored by this memorial is James W. Throckmorton, governor of Texas from August 6, 1866 to August 8, 1867.
Throckmorton was born in Tennessee in 1825 and was the son of a doctor. The family moved to Arkansas while he was a boy, then to Fannin County, Texas in 1841 and finally to Collin County. Below are highlights from his life of service--
*He joined the Rangers, but left in 1844 to study medicine with his uncle in Kentucky. This led to serving as an army surgeon in the Mexican War, eventually receiving a medical discharge.
*Deciding to follow law and politics rather than a medical career, he served five years as a state representative and five years as a state senator.
*He was elected to the Secession Convention of 1861 as a delegate. He joined six other delegates in voting against secession. He was a Unionist, but joined the Confederate army when war came.
*Throckmorton was appointed brigadier general in charge of troops responsible for guarding the Texas frontier and was appointed Confederate commissioner to the Indians.
*He served as president of the Constitutional Convention of 1866 and was elected governor that same year. When he and the U.S. military disagreed on the deployment of troops, he was removed from the governorship by General Philip Sheridan as "an impediment to reconstruction".
*Throckmorton was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1974-1888 and ran for governor in 1878 and again in 1890.
James Throckmorton died in McKinney, Texas on April 21, 1894.
info. from www.lib.utexas.edu
The Collins County government building is located at 210 S. McDonald Street and replaced the old Collins County courthouse, which is located in the town square. Although not particularly attractive, it serves the town well.
Here are some facts about McKinney,Texas:
*It was founded in 1841 on a 120 acre stretch of land donated by William Davis.
*The town is on the Trinity River and sits 32 miles North of Dallas at the intersection of U.S. highway 380 and I-75. It is the county seat of Collins County.
*Collins County comprises 885 square miles and has a population of 700,000 people.
*According to census records, 15% of the population is of German descent; 11% are of Irish ancestry.
There are numerous historic buildings surrounding McKinney's town square, including this old bank building. It's currently occupied by a shop called Another Time and Place.
Here are some interesting and fun facts about McKinney:
1841 The first pioneer settlers came to Collin County
1848 The US Post Office Department changes the name of the new county seat from Buckner to McKinney
1866 Outlaws, Jesse and Frank James are frequent visitors to McKinney when they visit their cousin Tuck Hill
1872 The first railroad comes through Collin County. The East line links McKinney to Jefferson, Texas
1878 McKinney organizes its first fire company, complete with a small, hand-pulled pumper and hose cart
1889 The city of McKinney gets electric lights
1910 Street cars come to McKinney
1912 Professor C.F. Walsh flies the first airplane flight in Collin County, taking to the skies over the McKinney Fair Grounds
1915 The County Federation of Women's Club is organized to include women's literay and service clubs from around the county
The Old Collins County Courthouse is a three story structure, which was redesigned in the Neoclassical Revival style in 1927.
Architects of this style were inspired by the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, which had a classical theme and the classically inspired architecture of Andrea Palladio. This architect inspired many English and American architects of the 18th and 19th centuries.
Neoclassical is known for its monumental buildings using giant pedimented porticoes, columns and elaborate cornices. It is said that this style brings forth the dignity called for in public buildings.
The original facade of the building created in 1876 was a Second Empire style. There are some people who think this style incorporated more beauty and grace than the present Neoclassical Revival design and regret the change.
The old Collins County courthouse is no longer being used for municipal purposes, but contains a theatre and rooms to rent for special occasions. The theatre has a wonderful old organ that accompanies silent films on special nights. A new government building has been erected.
We spotted this huge abandoned structure outside of McKinney as we were entering the town.
This 1910 Cotton Mill is a part of McKinney's Historic Cotton Mill District, which comprises 300 acres and 70 buildings.
This district is bounded by the railroad tracks, Burrus, Fowler, Amscott and Elm Streets.
It's important to note that McKinney was one of the principal cotton cities before the Civil War. At one time, this certainly must have contributed to the towns thriving economy.
FYI: This photo is taken from the rear of the building to include the smokestack.
One of the famous residents of McKinney, TX is James Webb Throckmorton. He was the former Governor of Texas from 1866 to 1867, and an US Congressman from 1875-9 and 1883-9. Prior to his political service, he was also a member of the Texas Militia and Confederate Army, achieving the rank of Brig. General. As he was definitely a Confederate from all points of view, and agreed with the Confederacy after the war was over during the reconstruction period, his term as governor was very short lived.
His body is buried in Pecan Grove Cemetery in McKinney today. There is also a statue commemorating his life in the town square in downtown McKinney.
Over the years, the Collin County Courthouse has seen more face-lifts than Joan Rivers. Now a completely new building away from the town square, the original McKinney Town Square Courthouse was built in 1848 when McKinney took over the county seat from Buckner. The building was rebuilt in 1856, 1874, 1927, and finally rennovated after the courthouse moved to another building in 1979. This old courthouse now serves as the McKinney Performing Arts Theatre.
This building, whatever its purpose does serve as the main architectural picture of Collin County's main town square, and hopefully that will remain regardless of its occupants. It has seen both a Neoclassical and Second Empire facade in its day, so hopefully it will remain in tact as future generations look after it.
Favorite thing: McKinney is located 45 miles from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, and 35 miles from Dallas' Love Field. Its neighboring cities are Frisco (West), Allen (South), Princeton (East) and Melissa (North). It is roughly 40 miles from downtown Dallas, and 32 miles east of Denton, TX. If travelling from downtown Dallas, take Highway 75 north. If travelling from DFW Airport, there are two convienent paths, one on Highway 121 (under construction) or Highway 635 East to Highway 75 North. Public Transportation to McKinney is difficult, so driving is your best option.
As my husband and I were familiarizing ourselves with McKinney's streets, we discovered the Old Collin County Prison. As we rounded a corner, it's white stones of ashlar limestone gleamed in the sun.
The prison is an example of the High Victorian Italianate style, constructed in 1880 and designed by architect, F. E. Ruffini. The structure was used as a prison for ninety-nine years. Originally built as a "t" plan, it was modified by adding a rear addition in the 1920's and renovated in 1938.
This building is one of the few remaining designed by Mr.Ruffini, who was apparently used quite frequently in Texas.
The plaque on the old prison noted its' "bracketed cornice and arched windows". I imagine this is one of the reasons it has been used as a movie location by Hollywood filmmakers. It is currently housing a business at 115 Kentucky Street.
Info. take from Downtown Historic Walking Tour of McKinney,Texas
Smith Drug Company has operated for 146 years and is one of the oldest drugstores in Texas. It still sports a neon sign from the 1920's.
The drugstore was opened in the 1880's by Dr. B.M. Smith and has been in continuous operation since then. Today it's a part of the two-story Jesse Shain Building, circa 1900.
Notice the round arched double-hung windows at the upper story and corbelled masonry cornice.
*The business is now owned by Kaylei and Michael Mosier. The drugstore became internationally known in 2005 when the owners decided to make generic medications available at cost to those who could not afford insurance. The store became the salvation of many, and the bane of fellow pharmacists.
*Info. came from an article in The Dallas Morning News, 1/22/05
Downtown McKinney is a great place to stroll. The buildings that date back to the 1800s and early 1900s have been preserved and restored. Downtown and the houses just outside of downtown are time capsules that display what small-town Texas life looked like in the past. There are historical landmark signs all over the place for your reading pleasure. Antiques shops, restaurants, coffee houses, boutiques, and more line the downtown square. Downtown is also host to several festivals throughout the year.
Favorite thing: This is a very typical American downtown scene. There are over 100 award-winning specialty stores, antique shops, art galleries, and restaurants situated in historic buildings which date back to the late 1800. Everything revolves around the Courthouse. Just park the car and go for a wander.