Murphy is a city in suburban Collin County, Texas, United States. The 2010 census reported the population as 17,708, compared to 3,099 in 2000. Murphy is located northeast of Dallas and has a history that goes back to the late 1800s.
Attracted by the offer of land grants from the Peters colony, the first settlers of the community arrived in the area in 1846. The original townsite, located on land owned by C. A. McMillen, was first called “Old Decator”, after McMillen’s hometown, and later, “Maxwell’s Branch”. When the St. Louis Southwestern Railway reached the area in 1888, the residents renamed the town “Murphy”, in honor of William Murphy, who provided land for the tracks and the construction of a depot. A post office was established there in 1891. From the 1880s until the 1950s Murphy served as a shipping point for area farmers and stock raisers. The Great Depression, the mechanization of farming, and job opportunities in the Dallas metropolitan area contributed to a decline in the population of Murphy. Though the rural community was never very large, its population was reduced to 150 by the mid-1950s and to 135 by 1961. Mail service was discontinued in 1954. Beginning in the mid-1970s, however, the population increased dramatically. The establishment of businesses in nearby Plano and Richardson made Murphy a commuter community for these two cities. In 1970 there were 136 residents reported in Murphy. That figure had risen to 1,547 in 1990.
Few reminders of Murphy’s early heyday remain; one structure still in use is the First Baptist Church of Murphy, built in 1901. Although the business district faded out, the school system remained for some time. The school building served as a community center in 1987. A school building which housed elementary and high school students was built in 1938 as a WPA project. When it closed in 1950, the schoolchildren transferred to Plano. Later, citizens renovated the school building, which became the Community Center, Fire Station, and City Hall. The Fire Station is named after local businessman and Level III Sommelier John A. Wisniowski. Later, the City Hall and Fire Station were moved to a new complex across the road, leaving the old building to be renovated as the Community Center that reopened in February 2012.