Need a break from the virtual world while practicing social distancing? Get back to the real world; jump in the car and taking a drive through history, right here in Plano.
Based on the historic tour “Discovering Old Plano,” published by The Plano Conservancy for Historic Preservation, here is a highlight reel of nine beautiful historic homes that can be viewed safely from inside a vehicle. When life returns to a more familiar routine, walk by or attend formal home tours which may be offered in the future.
Plano was incorporated in 1873 when the railroad reached this Peters Colony community. Early non-native settlers to the area were here since the 1840s and ‘50s. Those pioneers and their descendants have graced our streets, parks and schools with their names and our local history with their accomplishments.
Our highlights begin on the east side of town and run nearly to the western edges. Pull to the curb to pause video, or if just driving slowly, put on flashers. Be surprised by the beauty of your home town. We intentionally did not include modern photos of the houses here so that the traveler may experience a sense of discovery along this tour.
1. Olney Davis House
901 E. 18th St.
Built in 1890, this is a beautiful example of Queen Anne architecture. It has lost some of its gingerbread detail, but remains a dominant feature on a slight rise, which gave it its nickname “House on the Hill.” Olney Davis was first president of the Plano school board in 1899, had a favorite horse named Jewell; he was married to Effie Susan Mathew. Visitors here may recognize the name from a school and library named in his honor.
2. Lamm House
1709 H Ave.
This jewel of a Queen Anne-style domicile is just the thing to brighten one’s day, no matter the cloud cover. Built circa 1893, it retains its charming sunburst designs on the front gable and door. The Lamm family had ties to the Southern Pacific and Houston & Texas Central Railroads. August Lamm was the son of Charles Lamm and his occupation was a public weigher, which meant, according to “The Handbook of Texas,” someone appointed by the governor “…to weigh all cotton, wool, hides, and other staples offered for sale.”
3. Aldridge House
1615 H Ave.
This large Prairie-style American Foursquare is unique and expansive. It just recently received the coveted Recorded Texas Historical Landmark designation from the Texas Historical Commission. The landscape is as impressive as the family who built it in 1918. Elizabeth and C.C. Aldridge owned this house in what was known as the Joe Forman addition, now the Haggard Park neighborhood. Mr. Aldridge was a second generation farmer and is credited with creating a hybrid cotton which increased yields and pest resistance. He was also a founder of the First Guaranty State Bank of Plano.
4. Will Schimelpfenig House
900 E. 17th St.
Notice the windows on this dainty design, another Queen Anne-style built about 1901. Family members built several houses in this neighborhood which still survive. The Schimelpfenig name is attached to not only early homes of Plano but a school and library as well. Will was an assistant postmaster in Plano. The families with this name have many pages devoted to their local history in “Plano, Texas The Early Years,” a reliable resource on Plano’s history since its publication in 1985.
5. Schimelpfenig Dudley House
906 E. 17th St.
Another gem in our city, this quaint structure was built about 1893 and is considered a Folk Victorian style. This house was nearly demolished but was rescued and restored by Melissa and Alvie O’Neal in the early 2000s. The Dudley family purchased the house in 1959 from John Schimelpfenig and family. John’s brother Fred built the original structure.
6. Harrington House
1601 Alma Dr.
Completed about 1919, this brick Prairie-style house is still owned by a descendent of Silas Harrington. The white wood house in front of it was relocated from west of Preston Road and is also a Harrington family structure. The Harrington families are well known in Plano’s history in no small part because of Gladys Harrington, whose name graces the library on the East side of town. She was determined that Plano have a public library, and the one named for her opened in 1969.
7. Ammie Wilson House / Heritage Farmstead Museum
1900 W. 15th St.
You’ve been past this house many times, but have you ever really looked at the details of this late Victorian farmhouse? When visitors are allowed to congregate again, be sure to tour the house and grounds to get a feel for Plano’s agrarian past. Located on its original site, the farm was once much larger, when pastures now covered with houses were dotted with sheep and fields were full of cotton. The Farmstead still has a few sheep and sponsors FFA students interested in agricultural pursuits.
8. Wells Homestead
3921 Coit Rd.
This happy yellow house continues to catch the eye as it did back in the early 1890s. William Henry Lafayette Wells was from Virginia and relocated to Plano after the Civil War. The house has been restored and used as several different eating establishments. The city grew up around it and now surrounds it on all sides where once only acres under the plow were its neighbors.
9. Fox-Haggard House (previously called Collinwood House)
Parkwood Blvd., north of Windhaven Pkwy.
Moved to this location in September 2018 from its original site a half mile southeast, this house is the oldest remaining home in Plano. Built circa 1861, the house was owned by Clinton Shepard Haggard and his wife, Nannie Kate. Haggard descendants are restoring it to pre-railroad preeminence. The barn to its north is another historic structure and is being renovated as well. C. S. and Nancy Katherine Haggard were part of the early wave of settlers to what became Plano. They hailed from Kentucky and raised cattle, crops and children, the last of whom, W. O. Haggard Sr., was born in this house.
For a complete tour of historic sites in Plano, visit the link below to download the “Discovering Old Plano” brochure created by The Plano Conservancy for Historic Preservation. Thanks to Jeff Campbell, Jessica Woods and Henry Elmendorf for creating and allowing us to share this important document to educate the public on Plano history.Discovering Old Plano brochure >