The Frisco, Texas, area has a lot of rich and fascinating history. The area has been influenced by the Native Americans who lived there for many years before European settlers arrived, and it has evolved with the evolution of industry and technology, such as railroads. With so much history to learn about the city of Frisco, it’s hard to find a place to start. That’s why Crème de la Crème of Frisco has put together this list of seven interesting historical sites you have to explore in and around the Frisco area.

Frisco Heritage Center

Children explore a train at a historical site in Frisco, Texas

Old caboose” licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Flickr by jakesmome

The Frisco Heritage Center has a local museum that showcases educational exhibits, displays artifacts, and educates the public on the town’s rich history. The center itself is responsible for studying records and artifacts as well as researching properties and homes in the area to better understand who lived in the area and how they contributed. Then, this information is integrated into the museum’s exhibits. In addition, you’ll also find images of past buildings, homes, and people, a steam locomotive, a wooden caboose, and much more. 

You can find the Frisco Heritage Center at 6455 Page St. They’re open for tours Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The museum also hosts an open house on the third Sunday of every month to tour old buildings around town, including historic homes, the Lebanon Church, Gabby’s Blacksmith Shop, and others.

7175 Maple St. Elm Tree

Before Frisco was Frisco, the town was called Emerson, or the Old Donation, in the early 1900s. During this time, a mature American Elm sapling was planted near the home at 7175 Maple St. When the tree was getting too big for its original location, it was moved from the back of the home’s lot to the front so it had more stable ground and more room to keep growing.  You can visit the “Oldest Tree in Original Donation” at 7175 Maple St. in Frisco, designated by its placard. The tree is on private property, so remember to be respectful.

The Old Water Tower

Another cool historical landmark you can check out in Frisco is the old town water tower, located at Seventh and Elm Street. This water tower was placed in the mid-1920s and served as the town’s only elevated water storage tank until the 1980s. Before the tower was built, Frisco’s earliest citizens got water from hand-dug wells on their property and then paid up to $1 and change for water provided to them by the Frisco Water Works Company.

This, the old Elm tree, and other sites have been registered by the Frisco Heritage Center, and you can conduct your own history tour of the town using the Center’s handy historical sites map.

Museum of the American Railroad

The railroad system transformed America during the mid-1800s and early and mid-1900s. And you and your family can learn more about this transportation technology evolution at the Museum of the American Railroad in Frisco. Here you can go on a guided walking tour of the museum’s train cars, artifacts, and exhibits that showcase the evolution of more than 100 years of American railway history. 

In addition to the standard walking tour, you can also see miniatures of historical trains and destinations from across the Southwest in the TrainTopia exhibit at the nearby Frisco Discovery Center. What’s more, the museum is currently raising funds to transform the museum and build new spaces in which to display trains and artifacts and educate the public about the railroad history of the area and the country.

Rowlett Creek Bridge

Rowlett Creek Bridge is an old bridge that’s no longer in use, located in nearby Allen. The bridge has stood for more than 100 years and has seen many trains cross its sturdy planks. Now, it’s one of the many amazing parts of a fantastic hiking trail in the city of Allen. It hovers above bubbling Rowlett Creek and can be accessed by heading off the Bluebonnet Trail. 

You may be able to learn more about the history of this bridge, which was once part of an old railroad system, at the Museum of the American Railroad, the Allen Heritage Guild, and other local historical and heritage centers in the area. 

Downtown McKinney

Like many towns in the county, McKinney features a beautiful, quaint, and very historic downtown area. What was once the site of an early 1900s community hub is now a series of historical buildings with modern shops, restaurants, and local businesses inside. The area offers a scenic stroll with plenty of window shopping as well as placards educating the public on the people and businesses that used to operate there. On your stroll, you’ll see sites like the Old Courthouse, the Old Collin County Jail, the J.P. Dowell Hardware Store, and the Smith Drug Store. 

You can also learn more about the architects who built some of McKinney’s oldest homes and the people who lived in them when you go on the Residential Walking Tour of McKinney. In addition to self-guided walking tours, you can also book a tour with a local tour company.

Collin County History Museum

The Collin County History Museum displays artifacts, photographs, records, newspapers, and other archives that depict life in the decades past. Since parts of Frisco are located in Collin County, much of the history in McKinney resembles the history of Frisco, too. 

One permanent exhibit you should check out in conjunction with touring historic Downtown McKinney is the “McKinney Then and Now” display. This exhibit shows what life was like in McKinney during the town’s early days through photos, artifacts, and portraits of historic homes and buildings. 

You can learn more about the people and events that made McKinney into the city it is today by viewing videos during your visit that you can pull up using QR codes located in various parts of the display. Plus, the museum also has an augmented reality feature that allows you to use modern technology, like iPads, to view the displays in a whole new light.So there you have it, seven historical sites to visit to explore more about our hometown’s history. Did we miss any of your family’s favorite historical sites in town or around the county? If so, contact us to let us know. We’ll be sure to add it to our list!