Wylie is a city and northeastern suburb of Dallas, that was once solely located in Collin County, but now extends into neighboring Dallas and Rockwall Counties in the U.S. state of Texas. It is located on State Route 78 about 20 miles (32 km) northeast of central Dallas and centrally located between nearby Lavon Lake and Lake Ray Hubbard.
Originally called Nickelville, reportedly after the name of the first store, it was organized in the early 1870s. The Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway laid tracks a half mile north of the original townsite in 1886. The businesses of Nickelville moved to take advantage of the railroad within the following year, and the City of Wylie was incorporated in 1887 along the right-of-way. It was named for Lt. Colonel William D. Wylie, a right-of-way agent for the railroad and Civil War veteran.
That same year, Wylie had given itself its name, established a post office branch, and incorporated, choosing an alderman form of government. Two years later, the St. Louis Southwestern Railway reached the town. The two railroads and the rich agricultural region of the Blackland Prairies contributed to the town’s growth. In 1890, Wylie had a population of 400 and the first one-room school house was built. By 1900, it had grown to 773. In the next decade, the population tripled. Before 1920, the community had over 35 businesses, including two banks, a school, and a weekly newspaper.
Unlike many rural Texas communities, Wylie grew during the Great Depression years, reaching 914 residents by 1940. In part, this was a result of increased dairy farming to meet the demands of nearby Dallas. Following World War II, the population increase continued.
Onions were the town’s cash crop in the 1930s and ’40s. “Wide Awake Wylie” became the city?s nickname in the late 1940s and ’50s, a result of late night get-togethers of its citizens and businesses that stayed open until midnight on some evenings.
Designed to provide water for towns in four counties, the construction of the Lavon Dam and Reservoir 5 miles (8 km) north of town, and the selection of Wylie to house the offices of the North Texas Municipal Water District, pushed the population to 1,804 in 1960.
In the 1990s, Wylie had two disasters. On May 9, 1993 (Mother’s Day), a tornado ravaged downtown Wylie. In December 1998, two fires destroyed and damaged several businesses. After that, the downtown area was renovated, while preserving the many century-old buildings that remained standing.