Wylie is a city 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 northeast of central Dallas and centrally located to 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 thirty-five 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 saw 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.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 35.317 square miles, of which 21.037 square miles is land and 14.280 square miles, or 40.43%, is water.
Wylie is part of the humid subtropical region.
As of the 2010 census the population was 41,427, having grown 173.8% since the census of 2000, when there were 15,132 people, 5,085 households, and 4,108 families residing in the city. The population density was 781.2 people per square mile. There were 5,326 housing units at an average density of 275.0 per square mile. The racial makeup of the city was 90.45% White, 2.07% African American, 0.70% Native American, 0.60% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 4.30% from other races, and 1.86% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.44% of the population.
There were 5,085 households out of which 50.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 64.9% were married couples living together, 11.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 19.2% were non-families. 15.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.96 and the average family size was 3.29.
In the city the population was spread out with 33.4% under the age of 18, 7.2% from 18 to 24, 37.6% from 25 to 44, 15.9% from 45 to 64, and 5.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 97.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.9 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $58,393, and the median income for a family was $62,903. Males had a median income of $44,239 versus $31,084 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,987. About 2.4% of families and 3.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.3% of those under age 18 and 3.4% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2006 census estimate, the North Texas Central Council of Governments has placed the city’s population at 33,000. Most recent estimates show the population approaching 39,000.
Wylie has a council-manager form of government, composed of a Mayor and six council members (elected at large) along with an appointed City Manager. The city has operated under a city charter (home rule) since 1985 when voters approved the measure in a referendum. Wylie has received recognition for its Fire and police Departments in recent years.
Most of the Collin County portion of Wylie is served by Wylie Independent School District. A minuscule portion in Collin County is served by Princeton Independent School District. The Dallas County portion is served by Garland Independent School District. The Rockwall County portion is served by Rockwall Independent School District.
Wylie is served by the following highways that run through the city:
- State Highway 78
- Farm to Market 544
- Farm to Market 1378
- Farm to Market 2514
- Farm to Market 3412
Kansas City Southern provides freight rail services (its line roughly parallels State Highway 78) and operates an intermodal facility in the city.
- Rick Green, former member of the Texas House of Representatives
- Chris Givens, Wide Receiver of the St. Louis Rams
- A Killing in a Small Town, 1990 television movie on a real-life murder of a Wylie resident