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PRINCETON, TEXAS

Collin County, North Central Texas
Highway 380 and Highway 75
7 Miles W of Farmersville
7 Miles E of McKinney
41 Miles NE of Dallas

Population 3,477 (2000)

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Downtown Princeton, Texas
Downtown Princeton
Photo courtesy Mike Price, 2007
History in 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.
WWII memorial downtown Princeton, Texas
WWII monument downtown Princeton
Photo courtesy Mike Price, 2007
Old cotton gin, Princeton  Texas
An old gin
Photo courtesy Mike Price, 2007
More Cotton Gins
Old closed gas station, Princeton  Texas
Closed gas station in Princeton
Photo courtesy Mike Price, 2007
More Texas Gas Stations
Old wall thermometer
Photo courtesy Mike Price, 2007
Princeton Texas WWII camp watertower
Princeton Texas water tower
Princeton water towers
Photo courtesy Mike Price, 2007
More Water Towers
Photographer's Note:
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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