In 1872, Allen was named after Ebenezer Allen, a former Texas attorney general who promoted the railroad. A post office was constructed in 1876. Several years later, Allen received the dubious honor of being the first town in Texas to experience a train robbery. By 1884, Allen had established of a few churches, a flourmill, a school and a chair factory, and was home to approximately 350 residents.
Allen's proximity to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex provides residents with a multitude of entertainment, recreational and educational opportunities. Residents of Allen can travel in and out of the city by way of highways 75 and 121, and the George Bush and Dallas tollways. Residents enjoy learning about the area's history at the Heritage Farm Museum and Interurban Railway Museum in Plano. The Allen Arts Alliance and Allen Philharmonic Symphony give locals a taste of cultural arts. Shopping enthusiasts consider the Allen Premium Outlets to be one of the best retail centers in the area. In addition, with the recent retail developments of Watters Creek at Montgomery Farm, Village at Allen and Fairview, residents can enjoy high scale shopping, dining and entertainment.
Recreational opportunities abound in and around the city as well. Lavon Lake is located east of Allen. These lakes, each spanning over 20,000 acres, are perfect spots for anglers. Allen's natatorium houses two indoor pools, a fitness area and a climbing wall. The senior center hosts luncheons and programs such as line dances and card games. Adults can get involved in plenty of sports leagues like softball, golf, volleyball and basketball. The Joe Farmer Recreation Center hosts youth programs including fencing, hula dancing, Tae Kwon Do, horseback riding and guitar. Locals hike and bike along Allen's 20-plus miles of paved trails, which are part of a six-city network. At 14 miles, the Allen Parkway Loop is the city's longest trail.
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