As Dallas was settled by many early Texan pioneers there were no railroads or major highways yet. A popular route for the first wagon trains coming to settle was along the “Shawnee Trail”. This was a trail that was originally made popular for cattle drives originating out of Austin and traveling through Dallas. The cattlemen stopped due to the abundant water supply and lake. Early Frisco basically amounted to a watering hole for the cattle. Overtime though settlers began using the same trail too.
The trail went through a military post on the Red River named for Captain William C. Preston and the trail later became known as “Preston Trail” which today is what we know of as Preston Road (the oldest north-south road in all of Texas). Small homes and businesses started popping up along the trail over time.
Due to all of the local activity, the community was granted a U.S. post office in 1860 and it was named Lebanon. In 1902, a rail line of the St. Louis-San Francisco railway was built through the area. The steam engines of the day were a lot like cattle and they needed frequent watering holes too. The settlement of Lebanon was located around the area known as Preston Ridge which was too high in elevation, so the watering hole and accompanying rail line was placed about four miles west of the original location on a lower elevation area. A lake was dug on Stewart Creek and dubbed Lake Frisco.
Over time there were less cattle drives as the railway replaced the need for them. Like so many other early communities, the businesses and residents began moving closer to the rail access in what is now known as downtown Frisco and away from the original Preston Trail. One such resident, T.J. Campbell, literally put his home on logs and rolled it into town. It can still be seen today as a historical monument.
Initially this new community was to be named Emerson. It was named after Francis Emerson who owned the farm where downtown is now located. Emerson was a McKinney banker was had made an agreement to place a national bank in the town if they would name it after him. The U.S. Postal service rejected the name due to its’ similarity with another Texas town. Subsequently, the national bank was not established either.
In 1904 the residents chose the name “Frisco City” in honor of the St. Louis-San Francisco line (which was popular in the area and known as the “Frisco System”). It was soon shortened to just “Frisco”. In 1908 Frisco was incorporated and in 1913, electric service was provided by The Reinbert Electric Company. The 1920 census showed 733 residents though many put the count closer to 1,000 when including residents in or near Eurida and Lebanon. The population remained very steady with the 1950 census showing 736 residents. It wasn’t until the 70’s and 80’s that Frisco had its’ first population boom
The city of Frisco has a master plan that shows the city when fully developed will occupy over 69 square miles. It is estimated that the city at that time will have over 350,000 residents!