By Don Newsom, TSB Contributing Writer
This week in history: May 6 through May 12
During this week in history, some events occurred that have changed the history of our world. Other historical happenings began shaping the face of McKinney and Collin County.
In 1848, the first retail store was opened on the square in McKinney, selling general merchandise and later housing the town’s first post office.
In 1861, some of the Confederate troops stationed in Collin County were moved into Indian Territory to man the forts abandoned by federal troops and provide a line of defense against federal invasion of Texas from the North.
In 1865, the first Baptist Church of Farmersville was organized. It has been in continuous operation in that downtown area since then.
In 1869, a golden spike was driven at Promontory, Utah, marking the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in the United States. Many of the communities in our area were settled because of railroad lines that would directly or indirectly connect with the transcontinental railroad.
In 1886, the city fathers of McKinney, passed an ordinance prohibiting stock from grazing on the courthouse square.
In 1888, a post office was established at the store of Gabriel Henry Lucas on the McKinney-Rockwall Road. Gabe Lucas was the first postmaster, and the post office was named for him.
In 1894, the original public school building in Plano was destroyed by fire. Rumor was that it was arson committed by disgruntled students.
In 1902, the sale and public consumption of alcohol was banned within the boundaries of McKinney, nearly twenty years before prohibition became a federal law.
In 1903, the building that housed all grades in the Plano school system burned. It was the second school building to burn in less that a decade. The cause of the fire was never determined.
In 1908, the first Mother’s Day observance in the U. S. took place during church services in Grafton, W. Va. And Philadelphia, Pa.
In 1915, Babe Ruth of the Boston Red Sox hit the first of his 714 major league home runs in a 4-3 loss to the New York Yankees at the Polo Grounds.
In 1943, Axis forces in North Africa surrendered during World War II, resulting in a two front war, Europe and the South Pacific.
In 1945, the German military surrendered unconditionally to General Eisenhower. The following day, which was his birthday, President Truman told the American people in a radio broadcast the war in Europe had ended.
In 1947, the B.F. Goodrich Co. of Akron, Ohio, announced the development of a tubeless tire.
In 1949, the Soviet Union announced an end to the Berlin blockade which had been in effect since the end of WWII.
In 1960, the birth control pill was made available to the public.
In 2005, the residents of Westminster voted to abolish their town charter. The disincorporation of the city of Westminster, was only the eleventh such occurrence in Texas since 1975. With the loss of its charter, the city retains its name as a community, but is officially became an unincorporated part of Collin County. Therefore, maintenance and other services of the former city became the responsibility of county. Through an agreement with the city’s creditors, all debts were voided.
Don Newsom is an avid historian, serving on the Board of Directors for the North Texas History Center, and is a former Superintendent of Schools for Celina ISD.