Blue Ridge is at the intersection of State Highway 78 and Farm Road 981, in northeastern Collin County. The town is on land originally owned by Matthiss Mowry, who received a land grant from the Republic of Texas for his service in the Texas Revolution. Blue Ridge was established in 1876 and named for its hilltop location and the blue-flowering grass that grows in the area; from a distance the grass looks like a blue haze. In 1876 a post office was established at Blue Ridge, and the next year a cotton gin, sawmill, and gristmill were constructed there. By 1900 the community had an estimated population of just under 400, which increased to 600 by 1915. That same year the Greenville and Whitewright Northern Traction Company (later the Greenville and Northwestern Railway) built a railroad line from Blue Ridge to Anna, twelve miles northeast. The line was abandoned five years later. On October 8, 1919, a tornado struck Blue Ridge, killing seven people and destroying over $100,000 worth of property. The town recovered, however, and by 1930 its 450 residents had electric and natural gas utilities, a telephone exchange, paved roads, a high school, and more than twenty businesses. Blue Ridge incorporated in 1936, and by 1940 it had thirty businesses serving more than 400 residents. Although Blue Ridge weathered the Great Depression better than most Texas towns, after the 1930s the number of businesses there steadily declined. Mechanization of farming and job opportunities in the Dallas area after World War II contributed to this decline. In 1960 Blue Ridge had 350 residents served by sixteen businesses. During the 1970s it served as a retail market for the few but prosperous farmers in the heart of the Blackland Prairie near Pilot Grove Creek. The community in 1984 had an estimated 442 residents and five reported businesses; in 1990 its population was 521. In 2000 the population was 672 with forty-eight businesses.