The Shawnee Trail today may be covered with homes, concrete parking lots and shopping centers, but for years this path was a natural highway for herds of buffalo, wild horses, and wild game.
As the buffalo traveled the old trail, soon the native Indian tribes followed. The tribes hunted along the trail, lived where the buffalo herds were plentiful and built lookouts of stone to communicate and keep a watchful eye for enemies that threatened.
In 1838, the Texas Congress authorized a project to construct a north-south road to encourage more trade in the northern part of Texas. This old Indian trail from Austin to the Red River was chosen as the logical path. Today, Preston Road is a major artery through Collin County and it too follows the old Indian hunting trail.
It was in the 1850s, when immigrants began coming into north Texas to claim land, that the trail is officially recorded as the Shawnee Trail. These early settlers used the path for covered wagons loaded down with the necessities for starting a new life in an unknown land.
Following the Civil War, it also became the route for many of the legendary Texas cattle drives. Cowhands would drive the cattle from the Rio Grande, up to the Trinity River and the new settlement of Dallas on to the Red River. Cattlemen would gather in the community of Lebanon (now part of Frisco) and prepare to drive the cattle into what was then called Indian Territory (Oklahoma) and on to Missouri.
Frisco Independent School District is proud to recognize this important historic and geographic area in the naming of Shawnee Trail Elementary School. The school is constructed on the actual site of the old trail. A Texas Historical marker commemorating the trail and its role in Texas history is located at the nearby Preston Ridge Campus of Collin County Community College.