McKinney, TX

By: David Minor

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: July 31, 2020

McKinney, the county seat of Collin County, is located just west of State Highway 5, thirty-two miles north of Dallas. For the first two years of the county's history Buckner, seven miles northwest of McKinney, served as the county seat. Because Buckner was not within three miles of the center of the county as required by the First Legislature of Texas on January 12, 1848, the legislature called for a special election to select a new site. By a vote of ten to one McKinney was chosen. Like the county, the town was named for Collin McKinney, signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence and author of a bill establishing counties in the northern part of the state. On March 24, 1849, William Davis, who owned 3,000 acres where McKinney now stands, donated 120 acres for the townsite. Ten years later McKinney was incorporated, and in 1913 the town adopted the commission form of government. For the first 125 years of its history McKinney served as the principal commercial center for the county. The county seat provided farmers with flour, corn, and cotton mills, cotton gins, a cotton compress and cottonseed oil mill, as well as banks, churches, schools, newspapers, and, from the 1880s, an opera house. Businesses also came to include a textile mill, an ice company, a large dairy, and a garment-manufacturing company. 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. In 1943 the United States Army built the 1,500-bed Ashburn General Hospital (now the McKinney Job Corps Center) in McKinney. On May 3, 1948, the county seat was struck by a tornado that killed three persons, injured forty-three, and destroyed an estimated $2 million worth of property. The population grew from 35 in 1848 to 4,714 in 1912. By 1953 McKinney had a population of more than 10,000 and 355 businesses. The town continued to serve as an agribusiness center for the county until the late 1960s. By 1970 McKinney was surpassed in size by Plano. By the mid-1980s the town had become a commuter center for residents who worked in Plano and Dallas. In 1985 it had a population of just over 16,000, supported 254 businesses, and was the home of Collin County Junior College. In 1990 the population was 21,283. The population was 54,369 with 2,005 businesses in 2000.

Roy Franklin Hall and Helen Gibbard Hall, Collin County: Pioneering in North Texas (Quanah, Texas: Nortex, 1975). J. Lee and Lillian J. Stambaugh, A History of Collin County (Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1958). University of Texas Bureau of Business Research, An Economic Survey of Collin County (Austin, 1949).

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

David Minor, “McKinney, TX,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 07, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

July 31, 2020

Currently Exists
Place Type
Town Fields
  • Has post office: Yes
  • Is Incorporated: Yes
Belongs to
  • Collin County
Associated Names


  • Latitude: 33.19953430°
  • Longitude: -96.66708300°
Population Counts
People Year
523 1858
1,479 1880
2,489 1890
4,342 1900
4,714 1910
6,677 1920
7,307 1930
8,555 1940
10,560 1950
13,763 1960
15,193 1970
16,249 1980
21,283 1990
54,369 2000
131,117 2010
185,862 2019