Princeton, Texas

Coordinates: 33°10′52″N 96°30′0″W / 33.18111°N 96.50000°W / 33.18111; -96.50000
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Princeton, Texas
Location within Collin County and Texas
Location within Collin County and Texas
Coordinates: 33°10′52″N 96°30′0″W / 33.18111°N 96.50000°W / 33.18111; -96.50000
CountryUnited States
 • Body
City council
 • MayorBrianna Chacón
 • Mayor Pro TemporeSteven Deffibaugh
 • Total10.16 sq mi (26.30 km2)
 • Land10.10 sq mi (26.15 km2)
 • Water0.06 sq mi (0.15 km2)
574 ft (175 m)
 • Total17,027
 • Density1,375.92/sq mi (531.24/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
75407, 75071
Area code(s)214, 469, 972, and 945
FIPS code48-59576[2]
GNIS feature ID1344570[3]
Sunrise in Princeton, Texas

Princeton is a city in Collin County, Texas, United States. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 6,807,[4] with an increase to 17,027 in 2020.[5]


In the late 1870s T. B. Wilson and his brother George began farming near the site of future Princeton. In 1881 the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad Company extended its line from Greenville to McKinney, passing through land owned by the brothers. The name "Wilson's Switch" was commonly used to designate the area. When residents applied for a post office branch, however, they learned that the name Wilson was already being used. The community then submitted the name "Princeton" in honor of Prince Dowlin, a landowner and promoter of the town. This name was accepted, and a post office was established in 1888.[6]

In 1940, a camp of 76 cabins was built west of Princeton to house up to 400 migrant workers, who came to work during the onion and cotton seasons. In February 1945, the site became a prisoner-of-war camp for German prisoners captured during the Second World War. The local farmers paid the POWs to work on their farms. This operation continued for eight months. Under a special bill, the German prisoners were contracted to work on the City Park located across from city hall. The park was built as a living memorial and shrine to those who served and died during World War II. The Community Park/WWII P.O.W. Camp is located at 500 West College Street.[7]

Members of the Princeton Independent School District and the Princeton Lions Club have teamed up annually to hold the Princeton Onion Festival. It is a major festival for the town that began in 2005 and is expected to occur on the fourth Saturday of April each year.[8]



Princeton is located just east of the center of Collin County. It is bordered to the west by Lowry Crossing. U.S. Route 380 passes through Princeton, leading west 8 miles (13 km) to McKinney, the county seat, and east 8 miles (13 km) to Farmersville. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Princeton has a total area of 7.5 square miles (19 km2), of which 7.4 square miles (19 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2), or 0.76%, is water.[4]

Boundary History[edit]

On June 30, 2011, a Collin County District Court Judge issued a judgment ending a legal dispute over Princeton's southern boundary. The judgment ruled against the city, finding that the tract of land in question had not been annexed and was not lawfully within the city limits.[9] The case was filed on January 12, 2010 and was titled: The State of Texas Ex Rel. Collin County, Texas vs. The City of Princeton, Texas, Case No. 401-00108-2010. This case is available for public viewing in the Collin County courthouse.

The State of Texas' Motion for Summary Judgement stated "that Princeton administration had 'unlawfully and improperly attempted to assert jurisdiction over a tract of land which the city never annexed and which is not lawfully within the corporate city limits,' according to Collin County court records.""[9] "Tract Five, the property in question, is a strip of land that runs the length of the right of way of Farm to Market Road 982 from about a half mile south of U.S. Highway 380 to its intersection with FM Road 546."[9] "The southern portion of this tract was incorporated as part of the city of Branch from August of 1971 through April of 1977."[10] "After three months in which no response of any kind was received from the city (of Princeton) in regard to the matter, the (approximately 100) landowners concluded that the city (of Princeton) was ignoring (them) and decided in November (of 2006) to refer the matter to the Collin County District Attorney for possible legal action."[10] The landowners "provided all of the documentation" (to the D.A.)...[10]

"The state's quo warranto motion, filed in November 2010, claimed that Princeton was wrongfully exercising powers not authorized by any law[11] or statute and that a judgment on the case could be made without a trial and instead based solely on Princeton city records."[9] "Princeton officials first claimed the 5.5-mile strip of land as part of the city limits in 2003, but according to the state's motion, the 'contorted history of Tract Five and the City's current efforts to effectively annex by stealth began in 1971.'"[9] "In January 1971, the city enacted Ordinance No. 104, through which Princeton attempted to annex certain right-of-ways surrounding the city by a process commonly referred to as 'strip annexation.'"[9] "Princeton City Council passed a motion to annex five tracts, but in April of that year, the council passed another motion to eliminate Tract Five from the proposed annexations."[9] "Texas Legislature subsequently prohibited 'strip annexation' through procedures mandated by Chapter 43 of the Texas Local Government Code."[9] "All area maps, including one Princeton filed in 2000 with the U.S. Dept. of Justice, show that Tract Five did not belong to Princeton."[9] "Included in the state's original filing on the case in 2010 is a corporate map of Branch that was legally filed in Collin County records in March 1975, showing that Branch owns (sic) the corner of FM 982 and FM 546 and part of the same land Princeton began claiming as its own in 2003."[9] "Robert Davis, specially deputized District Attorney representing the state, said in the state's motion for summary judgment that 'in 2003, realizing that they were prohibited by law from engaging in the type of strip annexation which was accomplished by Ordinance No. 104, the City passed an ordinance which attempted to refute the fact

Using only Princeton's official city records, District Court Judge Ray Wheless ruled: "that Princeton's southern most corporate city limit officially extends to approximately 0.6 miles south of the intersection of F.M. Road 982 with U.S. Highway 380 but does NOT include the 5.5-mile stretch to FM 546."[9] "The order brings Princeton's south boundary back to where it stood for nearly 32 years."[9] Princeton's City Council minutes from July 11, 2011 state that "Councilmember Beauchamp made a motion to not appeal the Quo Warranto, Case No. 401-00108-2010. Councilmember Glass seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously." This decision was reported in The Princeton Herald on July 14, 2011 by Jamie Engle under the title, "City manager terminated, no appeal in 982 case."


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[12]
Princeton racial composition as of 2020[5]
(NH = Non-Hispanic)[a]
Race Number Percentage
White (NH) 7,605 44.66%
Hispanic or Latino 5,285 31.04%
Black or African American (NH) 2,535 14.89%
Mixed/Multi-Racial (NH) 827 4.86%
Asian (NH) 598 3.51%
Native American or Alaska Native (NH) 85 0.5%
Some Other Race (NH) 84 0.49%
Pacific Islander (NH) 8 0.05%
Total 17,027

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 17,027 people, 4,069 households, and 3,351 families residing in the city.[5]


Princeton is Home Rule City.

City is governed by City Council. The city also has Community Development Corporation and Economic Development Corporation.

History of Government[edit]

Historically, Princeton was a Type A General Law city,[15] but its council members have tried to get a Home Rule form of government passed four times: in November 2007,[16] May 2008,[17] November 2008,[18] and May 2014.[19] Princeton voters rejected Home Rule each time: 149 to 117 in November 2007,[16] 239 to 165 in May 2008,[17] 979 to 449 in November 2008,[18] and 260 to 151 in May 2014.[19] Home Rule cities can tax property at a higher rate than General Law cities, because the tax rate ceiling of Home Rule cities is $2.50 per $100 valuation,[20] while the tax rate ceiling of General Law cities is $1.50 per $100 valuation.[21] Home Rule cities can assess additional property taxes,[22] while a General Law city has "no inherent power to tax."[20] Besides additional property taxes, Home Rule cities are allowed to tax almost anything specified in its charter,[23] while General Law cities cannot, because they have no charter.

In Jan. 2015, a year long transparency study of 113 area cities, counties, and school districts was completed by The Dallas Morning News.[24] Seven reporters sent out and tracked 565 open record requests for public information from 113 entities.[24] They asked for public information that was clearly allowed by law.[24] They also tested government websites to see if they were user-friendly for citizen inspection.[24] Grades ranged from A to F.[25] Princeton was among only three cities which earned an F.[25] By contrast, twenty-four neighboring cities earned an A.[25] If a government did poorly on this survey, it is a cause for citizen concern, because responding to open records requests is a basic function of government.[26] Cities were graded according to their responses.[26] The City of "Princeton was among the worst in the Transparency 2015 ratings. It ranked as bad in request best practices, bad in request compliance, good in web customer service and excellent in online meeting notice."[25]

In 2017 and 2019, the Texas legislature passed two laws which ended forced annexation. The 2017 law applied only to sixteen Texas counties, but the 2019 law applies to all 254 Texas counties. In 2017, Gov. Greg Abbott said, “Residents from across the state that have expressed their concerns about feeling abused by the annexation process have had their voices heard. I’m proud to sign legislation ending forced annexation practices, which is nothing more than a form of taxation without representation, and I thank the legislature for their attention to this important issue during the special session.” A restriction on this law was that it ended forced annexation only in Texas counties with more than 500,000 people.[27]

On May 24, 2019, a new law went into effect extending the 2017 law. This new law ended forced annexation in all 254 Texas counties, not just the sixteen counties with populations over 500,000. At the signing, Gov. Abbott said, “…Forced annexation is when cities annex property without the approval of the people and businesses that are affected. This means that cities can impose new regulations and higher taxes on Texans who purposefully choose to live outside of city limits. It’s a form of taxation without representation and it will not be tolerated in Texas…” [28]

On Nov. 8, 2022, Princeton brought the Home Rule issue before its voters for the fifth time since 2007. This time, most of the administrators, who had been in favor of a ten square mile land grab that violated Texas law during the years of 2003 to 2011, were no longer in office. More Princeton voters turned out for this election than ever before with a total of 4,065 votes cast. The final tally was put online by the Collin County Elections Office on Nov. 18, 2022. Home Rule passed by a vote of 2,266 FOR (~56%) and 1,799 (~44%) AGAINST. The final tally can be found on the Collin County website under the title, "November 8, 2022 General and Special Election Combined Accumulated Totals.pdf (38 pages)." It is good that so many Princeton voters are paying attention to the decisions of their city government.


Standard and Poor’s updated the City’s bond rating in February 2021 to a “AA-” from a “AA” [29]

History of Finances[edit]

A Fitch business report for Princeton, dated October 9, 2012[30] is titled: "Fitch Affirms Princeton, Texas GOs[31] and COs[32] at 'A−'; Outlook Negative."[30] The key rating drivers for the negative outlook are Princeton's diminished reserves, increased tax rates, slowed tax base growth, above average debt, and the city's inability to replenish unrestricted general fund balances to levels that provide adequate operating flexibility and financial cushion.[30] The negative outlook reflects the trend of operating deficits in recent years, culminating in a negative general fund balance at the close of fiscal 2011.[30] The fiscal 2011 net deficit was $4.2 million.[30] The fiscal 2013 budget includes an increased ad valorem tax rate to increase funding for maintenance and operations; increased water service rates are also included in the budget.[30] Fitch notes the city's ad valorem tax rate is above average for Texas municipalities.[30] Overall debt is above average at 5.2% of market value despite state support for overlapping school district debt and support for direct city debt by the utility system.[30] GO[31] debt amortization remains below average with 36.8% of principal scheduled for repayment within 10 years.[30] A newer Fitch report, dated August 27, 2013, shows Princeton's business outlook improved from "Negative" to "Stable."


The city is served by Princeton Independent School District.


  1. ^ Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.[13][14]


  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on October 17, 2020. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  2. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 9, 2021. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Archived from the original on February 4, 2012. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  4. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Census Summary File 1 (G001): Princeton city, Texas". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved August 3, 2015.
  5. ^ a b c "Explore Census Data". Retrieved May 22, 2022.
  6. ^ Minor, David (June 15, 2010). "Princeton, TX (Collin County)". Texas State Historical Association. Archived from the original on October 16, 2012. Retrieved February 21, 2013.
  7. ^ "Community Park/WWII P.O.W. Camp". Princeton, TX. Archived from the original on October 17, 2014. Retrieved October 13, 2014.
  8. ^ "Princeton ISD Onion Festival". Archived from the original on January 25, 2021. Retrieved January 31, 2021.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Beattie, Chris. "Judge rules against Princeton in land case". McKinney Courier-Gazette. Retrieved August 23, 2014.
  10. ^ a b c Gammenthaler, Robert. "Caldwell wrong about annexation". McKinney Courier-Gazette. Retrieved October 13, 2014.
  11. ^ "Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code - Section 66.001 Grounds". onecle. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
  12. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census;". Archived from the original on April 26, 2015. Retrieved April 11, 2020.
  13. ^[not specific enough to verify]
  14. ^ "About the Hispanic Population and its Origin". Retrieved May 18, 2022.
  15. ^ "City of Princeton Annual Operating Budget Fiscal Year 2014-2015" (PDF). City of Princeton. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 24, 2016. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  16. ^ a b "Election Summary Report Nov. 2007". Collin Co. Archive. Collin County, TX. Archived from the original on July 22, 2015. Retrieved February 25, 2015.
  17. ^ a b "Election Summary Report May 2008". Collin Co. Archive. Collin County, TX. Archived from the original on July 22, 2015. Retrieved February 25, 2015.
  18. ^ a b "Election Summary Report Nov. 2008". Collin Co. Archive. Collin County, TX. Archived from the original on July 22, 2015. Retrieved February 25, 2015.
  19. ^ a b "Election Summary Report May 2014" (PDF). Collin Co. Archive. Collin County, TX. Archived (PDF) from the original on September 23, 2015. Retrieved February 25, 2015.
  20. ^ a b "Alphabet Soup: Types of Texas Cities". Texas Municipal League. Archived from the original on September 29, 2020. Retrieved January 31, 2021.
  21. ^ "The Texas Constitution, Article 11. Municipal Corporations". Statutes. State of Texas. Archived from the original on October 18, 2014. Retrieved October 13, 2014.
  22. ^ "Texas Statute 302.001". Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved February 21, 2013.
  23. ^ "Texas Tax Code - Section 302.102 Tax Collection Power". onecle. Archived from the original on July 22, 2015. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
  24. ^ a b c d "How Transparent Is Your Community?". Archived from the original on August 25, 2017. Retrieved February 19, 2015.
  25. ^ a b c d "All Agencies Transparency 2015 Report Cart". The Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on February 19, 2015. Retrieved February 19, 2015.
  26. ^ a b "When open government isn't open". The Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on February 21, 2015. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  27. ^ "Governor Greg Abbott Signs Legislation To Reform Municipal Annexation Process". Office of the Texas Governor. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
  28. ^ "Bill ending forced annexation becomes law". Weatherford Democrat. Retrieved June 4, 2019.
  29. ^ "Annual Comprehensive Financial Report" (PDF). Retrieved May 19, 2023.
  30. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Fitch Affirms Princeton, Texas GOs and COs at 'A-'; Outlook Negative". iStock Analyst. Archived from the original on November 10, 2014. Retrieved October 13, 2014.
  31. ^ a b "General Obligation Bond Definition". Venture Line. Archived from the original on October 18, 2014. Retrieved October 13, 2014.
  32. ^ "Certificate of Obligation Definition". Venture Line. Archived from the original on October 18, 2014. Retrieved October 13, 2014.