Plano in June 1856
Published in the Aurora Guardian, June 26, 1856
Edited and compiled by Elmer Dickson
Plano, like many towns along the line of the railroad in Illinois is new. It is but three years since a town was thought of and a village staked off. Now it has a population of 400, all of who live in comfortable homes. In nearly every instance, the occupant is the owner. All are painted white, and their gardens to each testify as well to the neatness and taste of the inhabitants.
Among the first of the public improvements was the erection of what is termed the Academy. It is a fine two-story building, 28 by 50 feet. The upper story is used as a public hall. It is used for religious meetings, as well as lectures, exhibitions, etc. It will comfortably seat a much larger audience than any public hall in Aurora. The first floor is used as a free school, giving better accommodation for the scholars than the people of Aurora have now for their children.
But the Academy is not sufficient for all the services held on the Sabbath, so the M. E. Church is engaged in the erection of a fine building to cost from $3,500 to $4,000. The building is expected to be completed by the first of next December. W. P. White, a resident of Plano, has the contract for the building, which is to be about 36 by 60 feet.
There are both Baptist and Methodist church organizations in Plano, and the Universalists have occasional preaching.
There is a lodge of Good Templars, and an organized, living, active Fremont Club. The Plano people, ladies included, are all for Free Kansas.
A beautiful spot of land just on the edge of (Big) Rock Creek timber, rising gently from the railroad, was selected for a business district.
Plano does much more business than is generally supposed. We found quite a number of well-stocked stores.
H. B. Henning keeps dry goods, crockery, groceries, etc.
N. and J. C. Eldridge have a general assortment of dry goods, etc., and deal somewhat extensively in hardware.
Our old friend, J. S. McDowell does his share of trade in general merchandise.
W. F. Lincoln has a fine stock of dry goods. Dr. H. Caniff, a somewhat prominent temperance advocate and worker in the cause of Whiteman's Rights, keeps the only drug store in the place.
Henning and Doty have a large store devoted one-half to furniture and the other to hardware and stoves. Their tin shop turns out a good deal of work.
Bullock is building a fine store, which is intended to be kept in reserve for someone to fill up with clothing, or perhaps a jewelry establishment. There is a fine opening for someone in these branches.
The Edlridges are building a new store, which is already engaged for general merchandise.
"Barber's Hotel" kept by Mr. Bullock and the "Plano House" by J. B. Clark are no disgrace to Plano.
There is no whiskey, good, bad, or indifferent, kept at either hotel, or any other place in Plano. A friend of ours says they do not even keep cigars. Plano is a temperance town.
We found our friend, Jacob Cass, dealing in lumber, produce, coal, water-lime, salt, etc. If we might judge of Plano's prosperity by Jacob's, it may be set down "A" number one. When he left Aurora three years ago, no one was aware of his owning anything more than a good name. Now he owns a yard, which he keeps well stocked, a comfortable office, a large garden with a handsome house in it and someone in the house beside himself.
Latham and Henning also keep a good assortment of lumber.
Steward and Henning are building a grain warehouse, 36 by 60 feet, to be completed as soon as the work can be done.
Fuller and Lincoln have rented the upper part of the railroad company's warehouse. This will provide ample provision for the storage of produce.
There are three blacksmith shops, Willett, Chittenden and L, Thomas, including one where quite a business is carried on in wagon building. George Steward who is a wheelwright is the wagon builder.
Marcus Steward is building a gristmill and saw mill on (Big) Rock Creek, which runs through on one side of the village. The gristmill is expected to be in operation about the first of July (1856.) These will prove a source of prosperity to the village.
We noticed a daguerrian palace, which was doing a good paying business. But it was on wheels and may be off before this is published. Chapman and Wright own the machine.
There are one or two millinery shops, but we don't recollect seeing a shoemaker's or tailor's shops. However we presume there are such.
On the whole, Plano is a thriving place. Its people are of the right stamp, intelligent, thrifty, and enterprising. We point to such villages as Plano, springing up in a night over the prairies with pride.