Native American Territory
Before European and American immigrants arrived in Allen, Caddo and Comanche tribes inhabited the region. The tribes migrated west as the early settlers entered the area. They were eventually removed to territory north of the Red River. One of the last known conflicts between early settlers and Native American tribes took place in 1844 along Rowlett Creek, near the existing railroad. A historic marker along State Highway 5 commemorates the event.
European Immigration
In the 1840s immigrants of European descent came to Allen in search of free land. They traveled via the Texas Road and the Central Nation Road, constructed by the Republic of Texas. A stage line also ran from Bonham to Allen, crossing Rowlett Creek at the spot where State Highway 5 crosses now. Allen was part of the Peter's Colony Land Grant from the Republic of Texas to the Texas Emigration & Land Company.
Railroad Heritage
The original township of Allen was located along the Houston and Texas Central Railroad, which was built in 1872. Allen was named for Ebenezer Allen, a former attorney general of Texas and one of the promoters of the railroad. J.P. Morgan and Company acquired the railroad in 1877; Southern Pacific bought it in 1883. In 1918 the railroad built a freight and passenger depot in the Allen Central Business District.

The first train robbery in Texas took place in Allen on February 22, 1878, when Sam Bass and his associates pillaged the train. Allen was a short ride from their hideouts in the Elm Trinity brush lands.

In 1907 the Texas Traction Company purchased land on the west side of the Houston and Texas Central Railroad track to build the Interurban line. Texas Traction planned to add Allen as a stop on its route from Denison to Dallas. The work was completed in 1908, but in 1915 a devastating fire destroyed most of the business district between the Interurban tracks and the railroad. The Interurban closed in 1948 and the population of Allen declined to 400 in 1950.

Modern Growth
The town was officially incorporated in 1953. Home Rule Status was adopted in 1979 with a council/manager form of government. U.S. Interstate 75 was built in 1960 and had a similar impact on Allen’s future as the railroad a century before. Developmental Learning Materials and InteCom, Inc. relocated to Allen in the 1980s, leading the way for many corporate startups and relocations.

  1. Historic Water Station Trail

The Historic Water Station Trail gives trail-goers an opportunity to experience Allen's history. Just off the path of the Cottonwood Creek Hike and Bike Trail, a destination bridge overlooking the Old Stone Dam connects to the crushed granite loop where interpretative panels detail information about the Historic Water Station, a Texas State Archaeological Landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places. To access this trail, park at Allen Station Park and follow the trail signs northwest.

Historic Water Station Trail BridgeOld Stone Dam