By Don Newsom, TSB Contributing Writer
The establishment of Valentine’s Day and some early organizations in the county highlight this week in history.
In 498 AD, Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine’s Day to honor a popular European saint a proponent of romance. It was not until the Middle Ages that the day became definitively associated with love based upon a common belief in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance. In 1897, a fire burned Floyd’s Opera House and Harrington’s Furniture store in downtown Plano.
In 1848, the Rowlett Creek Baptist Church founded at the home of Elder Jonathan Phillips, a county founder.
In 1850, the Liberty Baptist Church, in Plano, was started in the home of county pioneer, Henry Cook. It is now known as the Willow Bend Baptist Church.
In 1890, the McKinney branch of the Daughters of the Confederacy was formed. The organization still exists, but is know as the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
In 1893, the City of Plano granted Southwest Telegraph and Telephone the right to erect poles in the city.
In 1899, Farmersville, experienced its coldest temperature on record, -16 degrees.
In 1902, despite protests and demonstrations by ladies in the area, several prominent men: Judge J. R. Faulkner, F. E. Wilcox, R. C. Merritt, K. P. Brown and T. J. Jackson conducted a formal, open debate on the topic: “Men have greater influence than women.”
In 1913, a state bank was organized in the prosperous farming community of Altoga, located 10 miles northeast of McKinney.
In 1914, Plano experienced a smallpox epidemic. To combat it, the city health officer, Dr. Ellis, urged residents to continue to use large amounts of lime as needed.
In 1927, the MacDowell Music Club was formed in Celina. Initially, the club was established for pianists, but was expanded to all musicians to promote musical art. Although, there is no longer an organization in Celina, they do still function in many areas of the country.
In 1928, a fire did extensive damage to the Waddill Building and the America Theater in downtown McKinney.
TSB contributing writer Don Newsom is an avid historian and a former Superintendent of Schools for Celina ISD.