Rail Yard

When the railroad came to town, McKinney experienced unprecedented growth. The railroad provided reliable transportation for people and goods.

 

“Farmers and manufacturers were able to ship their goods on the Houston and Texas Central Railway, which reached McKinney in 1872, and, beginning in 1881, on the Missouri, Kansas, and Texas Railroad. From 1908 to 1948 the Texas Electric Railroad, running from Denison to Dallas and Waco,
served McKinney.”[1]

 

“In 1908 the Texas Traction Company, or Interurban, an electric rail service began operating in McKinney. Running north and south serving towns between Dallas and Sherman. Powered by McKinney’s electric plant, the Interurban was the greatest success of the McKinney Commercial Club, formed in 1907 by over one hundred businessmen. This club, a forerunner of the Chamber of Commerce, replaced the Board of Trade and other groups of local businessmen trying to attract industry in earlier years.”[2]

When cotton was king. Cotton bales at McKinney railyard, ca 1900
Photo Gallery • McKinney, TX • CivicEngage (mckinneytexas.org)

“Cotton production was the primary driver of the Texas economy in the first half of the twentieth century. In an effort to support the local economy, The Cotton Mill was built with local investment money and exclusively purchased locally grown cotton. It was one of only two textile mills west of the Mississippi that manufactured colored print cloth, and by the early 1960’s it was the largest denim mill in the world.”[3]

 

“Over the next 50 years, cotton became a major source of revenue in Collin County. In 1860, the yield was 16 bales, and in 1870 it was 4,371 bales. In 1870, there was one cotton gin in McKinney, but by 1876, there were four. A cotton compress began operation in 1892 and was still in operation until the mid-1980s. The first textile mill – The Texas Cotton Mill Company – was opened in McKinney in 1910. It was one of only two mills west of the Mississippi that manufactured color-print cloth. It later became a major manufacturer of denim.”[4]

 

Cotton comes to town

Cotton Buying Day Looking South on Tennessee

Looking West on Louisiana Street

“The railroad, while seldom used today, is scheduled to accommodate a future expansion of the Dallas area rail transit system. A proposed transit stop in the vicinity of Louisiana and Virginia Streets is expected to act as a focal point for denser, mixed-use redevelopment around the station area.”[5]

“The vision for a transit village, an urbanized State Highway 5 corridor, and the preservation of the surrounding neighborhoods establish a philosophy of balance in terms of destination activities, relationships, walkability, transitions, scale, connections, location within the region, transit, housing and growth opportunities. The vision recognizes four redevelopment opportunities, along with a strategy for the redesign of Highway 5 itself so it becomes the connective tissue between the Historic Downtown Square and Old Settlers Park—the heart of the neighborhoods to the east of State Highway 5.”[6]

The tracks today on the east side

There are discussions by “The North Central Texas Council of Governments’ Regional Transportation Council is working to convince city officials to support a new rail line system that would connect Plano and McKinney.”[7]