Princeton, Texas

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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; -96.50000Coordinates: 33°10′52″N 96°30′0″W / 33.18111°N 96.50000°W / 33.18111; -96.50000
CountryUnited States
 • 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
Area code(s)972
FIPS code48-59576[2]
GNIS feature ID1344570[3]

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 the south side of 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 (19.3 km2), of which 7.4 square miles (19.2 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km2), or 0.76%, is water.[4]

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[10] and was titled: The State of Texas Ex Rel.[11] Collin County, Texas vs. The City of Princeton, Texas, Case No. 401-00108-2010.

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[12] from August of 1971 through April of 1977."[13] "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."[13] The landowners "provided all of the documentation" (to the D.A.).[13]

"The state's quo warranto motion, filed in November 2010, claimed that Princeton was wrongfully exercising powers not authorized by any law[14] 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 that the fifth tract of land had been deleted from Ordinance No. 104 prior to final passage.'[9] "The state initially brought the motion for summary judgment before Judge Mark Rusch of the 401st Judicial District Court..., but the state and Princeton decided to let Wheless[15] rule on the case after Rusch disclosed he was a prosecutor in the Collin county District Attorney's office during a related case in 1990."[9] On February 25, 2011, Judge Mark Rusch signed the Administrative Order of Assignment, which stated, " is my opinion that the most efficient management of this case necessitates it be transferred to the 366th Judicial District Court."[10] A few days later, the case retained the same name, but was re-numbered to show that it was being decided in the 366th Judicial District Court: Case No. 366-00108-2010.

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
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[16]
Princeton racial composition as of 2020[5]
(NH = Non-Hispanic)[a]
Race Number Percentage
White (NH) 7,605 44.66%
Black or African American (NH) 2,535 14.89%
Native American or Alaska Native (NH) 85 0.5%
Asian (NH) 598 3.51%
Pacific Islander (NH) 8 0.05%
Some Other Race (NH) 84 0.49%
Mixed/Multi-Racial (NH) 827 4.86%
Hispanic or Latino 5,285 31.04%
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 a Type A General Law city,[19] but its council members have tried to get a Home Rule form of government passed four times: in November 2007,[20] May 2008,[21] November 2008,[22] and May 2014.[23] Princeton voters rejected Home Rule each time: 149 to 117 in November 2007,[20] 239 to 165 in May 2008,[21] 979 to 449 in November 2008,[22] and 260 to 151 in May 2014.[23] 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,[24] while the tax rate ceiling of General Law cities is $1.50 per $100 valuation.[25] Home Rule cities can assess additional property taxes,[26] while a General Law city has "no inherent power to tax."[24] Besides additional property taxes, Home Rule cities are allowed to tax almost anything specified in its charter,[27] while General Law cities cannot, because they have no charter.[24] Home Rule cities can annex property without landowner consent,[28] while General Law cities need landowner consent.[24]

"A home rule city may do anything authorized by its charter that is not specifically prohibited or preempted by the Texas Constitution or state or federal law; a general law city has no charter and may only exercise those powers that are specifically granted or implied by statute."[24] As a General-Law city, Princeton must follow the laws of The State of Texas.[24] The Texas statutes that govern Princeton are called "LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE…CHAPTER 51. GENERAL POWERS OF MUNICIPALITIES."[29] Chapter 5 of the Texas Local Government Code defines Type A General Law cities[30] and Home Rule cities.[31] Approximately 75% of all Texas cities are General Law cities.[24]

In Jan. 2015, a year long transparency study of 113 area cities, counties, and school districts was completed by The Dallas Morning News.[32] Seven reporters sent out and tracked 565 open record requests for public information from 113 entities.[32] They asked for public information that was clearly allowed by law.[32] They also tested government websites to see if they were user-friendly for citizen inspection.[32] Grades ranged from A to F.[33] Princeton was among only three cities which earned an F.[33] By contrast, twenty-four neighboring cities earned an A.[33] 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.[34] Cities were graded according to their responses.[34] 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."[33]

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.[35]

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…” [36]


A Fitch business report for Princeton, dated October 9, 2012[37] is titled: "Fitch Affirms Princeton, Texas GOs[38] and COs[39] at 'A−'; Outlook Negative."[37] 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.[37] 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.[37] The fiscal 2011 net deficit was $4.2 million.[37] 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.[37] Fitch notes the city's ad valorem tax rate is above average for Texas municipalities.[37] 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.[37] GO[38] debt amortization remains below average with 36.8% of principal scheduled for repayment within 10 years.[37] 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.


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  2. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2021-07-09. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Archived from the original on 2012-02-04. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  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 2022-05-22.
  6. ^ Minor, David (2010-06-15). "Princeton, TX (Collin County)". Texas State Historical Association. Archived from the original on 2012-10-16. Retrieved 2013-02-21.
  7. ^ "Community Park/WWII P.O.W. Camp". Princeton, TX. Archived from the original on 17 October 2014. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
  8. ^ "Princeton ISD Onion Festival". Archived from the original on 25 January 2021. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Beattie, Chris. "Judge rules against Princeton in land case". McKinney Courier-Gazette. Retrieved August 23, 2014.
  10. ^ a b "State of TX vs. Princeton, TX". Yola. Archived from the original on 12 January 2016. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  11. ^ Ex rel
  12. ^ "Branch, Texas". Yola. Archived from the original on 17 October 2014. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
  13. ^ a b c Gammenthaler, Robert. "Caldwell wrong about annexation". McKinney Courier-Gazette. Archived from the original on 2 August 2021. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
  14. ^ "Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code - Section 66.001 Grounds". onecle. Archived from the original on 22 July 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  15. ^ "366th District Court". Collin County, Texas. Archived from the original on 17 October 2014. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
  16. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census;". Archived from the original on 2015-04-26. Retrieved 2020-04-11.
  17. ^[not specific enough to verify]
  18. ^ "About the Hispanic Population and its Origin". Retrieved 18 May 2022.
  19. ^ "City of Princeton Annual Operating Budget Fiscal Year 2014-2015" (PDF). City of Princeton. Archived (PDF) from the original on 24 December 2016. Retrieved 21 February 2015.
  20. ^ a b "Election Summary Report Nov. 2007". Collin Co. Archive. Collin County, TX. Archived from the original on 22 July 2015. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  21. ^ a b "Election Summary Report May 2008". Collin Co. Archive. Collin County, TX. Archived from the original on 22 July 2015. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  22. ^ a b "Election Summary Report Nov. 2008". Collin Co. Archive. Collin County, TX. Archived from the original on 22 July 2015. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  23. ^ a b "Election Summary Report May 2014" (PDF). Collin Co. Archive. Collin County, TX. Archived (PDF) from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  24. ^ a b c d e f g "Alphabet Soup: Types of Texas Cities". Texas Municipal League. Archived from the original on 2020-09-29. Retrieved 2021-01-31.
  25. ^ "The Texas Constitution, Article 11. Municipal Corporations". Statutes. State of Texas. Archived from the original on 18 October 2014. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
  26. ^ "Texas Statute 302.001". Archived from the original on 2014-02-22. Retrieved 2013-02-21.
  27. ^ "Texas Tax Code - Section 302.102 Tax Collection Power". onecle. Archived from the original on 22 July 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  28. ^ "Texas Local Government Code - Section 43.021". onecle. Archived from the original on 22 July 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  29. ^ "Local Government Code: Chapter 51". Archived from the original on 2012-10-24. Retrieved 2013-02-21.
  30. ^ "Texas Local Government Code - Section 5.001". onecle. Archived from the original on 22 July 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  31. ^ "Texas Local Government Code - Section 5.004". onecle. Archived from the original on 22 July 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  32. ^ a b c d "How Transparent Is Your Community?". Archived from the original on 25 August 2017. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  33. ^ a b c d "All Agencies Transparency 2015 Report Cart". The Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on 19 February 2015. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  34. ^ a b "When open government isn't open". The Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on 21 February 2015. Retrieved 21 February 2015.
  35. ^ "Governor Greg Abbott Signs Legislation To Reform Municipal Annexation Process". Office of the Texas Governor. Archived from the original on 4 September 2017. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  36. ^ "Bill ending forced annexation becomes law". Weatherford Democrat. Archived from the original on 7 June 2019. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  37. ^ 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 10 November 2014. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
  38. ^ a b "General Obligation Bond Definition". Venture Line. Archived from the original on 18 October 2014. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
  39. ^ "Certificate of Obligation Definition". Venture Line. Archived from the original on 18 October 2014. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
  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.[17][18]