The Dallas-Fort Worth area is rich with the fascinating history of the people who’ve lived in the region for generations. Allen, Texas, and the rest of Collin County, has just as much history, and there are dozens of historical sites and local museums where you can learn all about the people and events that shaped the area. That’s why Crème de la Crème of Allen has put together this list of seven of the most fascinating historical sites in and around Allen for you and your family to enjoy.
Allen Heritage Village
Right here in Allen is Heritage Village, a local park and historical site where the town has preserved and reconstructed buildings from the city’s past. Since 2002, the Allen Heritage Guild and the City of Allen government have been moving some of the area’s oldest homes and buildings to this land and working hard to restore both the interior and exterior of each. In doing so, they created a little historical village where locals and visitors alike could tour the buildings, check out educational exhibits about the properties, and learn more about Allen’s rich history.
Some of the buildings you can view on a self-guided tour of the village include St. Mary Baptist Church, Allen Christian Church, a bungalow house originally built in the 1920s known as the Bolin House, and the oldest standing structure in Allen, a Pennsylvania Dutch farmhouse called the Wetsel House. There are also a few farmhouses and other structures currently being built.
Collin County Farm Museum
Image via Flickr by Bob Linsdell Licensed CC BY 2.0
The Collin County Farm Museum is located in nearby McKinney, and it’s the local destination for learning all about rural life, farming operations and history, and the impact of farms on North Texas history. Exhibits showcase farming tools, processes, and events from around the area, starting with the earliest settlers through more contemporary farming in the 1960s.
You can see artifact displays and restoration projects in the Wells Building, the museum’s main location, as well as in the Blacksmith Shop, the Granary, and the Confinement House also located on the Myers Park & Event Center property. There are both indoor and outdoor exhibits, and the museum also features quite a few hands-on exhibits and gardens you can stroll through. In addition to visiting the museum property to see the artifacts, you can also attend various workshops on activities like cheese making and see antique vehicles and farm equipment.
Heritage Village at Chestnut Square
Also just a few miles away in McKinney, you can check out the historical buildings located in Heritage Village at Chestnut Square. This village is similar to Allen’s own Heritage Village because it features reproductions and restorations of some of the city’s oldest buildings.
A few of the houses were originally built in Chestnut Square, including the 1916 Dulaney House, a cottage-style home, and the 1870 Johnson House, which was built in the Victorian style. You can also see McKinney’s oldest house, the 1854 Faires House, which features the original door constructed by Mr. Faires himself and two bullet holes from the Civil War. There’s also the 1863 Two-Bit Taylor Inn, an old bed and breakfast; the 1908 Foote Baptist Church, which in 1994 was relocated to Chestnut Square from Proper, Texas; and many other fascinating buildings.
You can catch a guided tour through the square and many of its buildings, which often feature exhibits full of historical artifacts, displays about the people who occupied them, and information on how the buildings were moved or preserved.
Interurban Railway Museum
You’ll find this interesting local museum in Haggard Park located in nearby Plano. At the Interurban Railway Museum, your family can check out exhibits that cover local railway history, including what was shipped on the railway, who used it as transportation around the county, and even how the railway contributed to the Civil War. You can also tour an old train car in person or use the powers of virtual reality to tour it in the museum’s VR exhibit.
This museum also hosts rotating local history exhibits, including ones on the connection between local sports and the railway and on some of the most notable accidents and incidents that occurred.
North Texas Masonic Historical Museum and Library
The North Texas Masonic Historical Museum and Library preserve the deep connection between the North Texas Masons and the establishment of Collin County. In the mid-1800s, Masonic Lodges were built in McKinney, Dallas, Plano, and other nearby regions, directly leading to the establishment of each of these and other towns that we see today. And it’s the stories of the people and events associated with the Masons that this museum tells. You can view exhibits full of historical artifacts, documents, books, and more that depict the growth and hurdles that made this area what it is today.
Southfork Ranch is the real-life home and business where the television show “Dallas,” which aired between 1978 and 1991, was set and filmed. “The world’s most famous ranch” is a gorgeous Texan destination where you and your family can enter the TV world of the Ewings, see the areas where the show was filmed, and view displays of props, costumes, and other behind-the-scenes memorabilia. It’s an interesting glimpse into Texas culture and a must-visit for TV fans interested in American media history.
Torian Cabin Museum
The Torian Cabin Museum is a two-room cabin located in nearby Grapevine across from its city hall. This little museum was originally built as a home in the pioneer community of Dove in the mid-1800s. However, it was moved to its current location in the 1970s. Since then, it’s welcomed Grapevine visitors and locals alike to tour its quaint historical displays. The artifacts, furnishings, and decorations change with each season, so there’s always something new to check out at the Torian Cabin Museum.
So there you have it: seven local historical sites where you and your family can brush up on your North Texas culture and history. Did we miss your family’s favorite historical spot in and around Allen? If so, contact Crème de la Crème of Allen. We’ll be sure to add it to our list.