Photo courtesy Mike
a Pecan Shell
Settlement began in the late 1870s although the town didn’t develop
until the arrival of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad in 1881.
The “Katy” had extended its tracks from Greenville
to McKinney and Princeton
became a stop.
Originally named Wilson’s Switch after two brother farmers, the application
for a post office ran into a glitch when it was found that Wilson,
Texas already existed. The honor then fell to landowner and town promoter
Prince Dowlin. The post office opened in 1888 under the name of Princeton.
Grain elevators were built to retain the area’s wheat production and
corn and onions were also major crops. For a time Princeton processed
Bois d'Arc lumber – which had been in vogue for paving blocks in major
Texas cities. Princton
was thriving in the early 1920s with a reported population of 500
and had all infrastructure in place – including paved roads.
Prisoners of War were housed here during WWII
and the town benefited from the free labor they provided.
Princeton’s population remained over 500 throughout the war and experienced
no post-war drop in population due to the establishment of nearby
Lake Lavon. By the early 1970s the population was 1,100 which increased
to 3,400 by the early 1980s.
There are a number of older buildings downtown, but commercial development
has shifted south to the 380 corridor. The rusty old tower stand on
the grounds of what was a WWII
POW camp. There was not a historical marker that I could find although
the road signs gave directions. The camp has been converted to a large
park. - Mike
Price, December 02, 2007
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