In the late 1870s T. B. Wilson and his brother George began farming near the site of future Princeton. In 1881 the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad Company extended its line from Greenville to McKinney, passing through land owned by the brothers. The name Wilson's Switch was commonly used to designate the area. When residents applied for a post office branch, however, they learned that the name Wilson was already being used. The community then submitted the name Princeton in honor of Prince Dowlin, a landowner and promoter of the town. This name was accepted, and a post office was established in 1888.
Princeton was the site of a prisoner of war camp for German prisoners during the Second World War. The local farmers paid the POWs to work on their farms. Before and after the war the camp was used as a camp for migrant farm workers. Under a special bill, the German prisoners of war were contracted to work on the City Park located across from the city hall. The park was built in memory of the men who served in the armed forces during World War II.
Members of the Princeton Independent School District and the Princeton Lions Club have teamed up to annually hold the Princeton Onion Festival. It is a major festival for the town that began in 2005 and is expected to occur on the fourth Saturday of April each year. Among the various events at the festival are a 5K Run, antique/classic car show, and tennis round robin tournament. Individuals and groups selling arts and crafts also attend the festival.
Princeton ISD is a 3-A school district covering 60 square miles, serving not only the city of Princeton but also the surrounding rural communities of Culleoka, Lowry Crossing, Branch, Climax, and the west side of Lake Lavon. People here enjoy the best of both worlds: country living within an hour’s drive of all the benefits of the Metroplex.
A school system that believes in the traditional emphasis on the basics of math, reading and language arts, Princeton ISD also puts proper student behavior and citizenship high on the priority list.
Approximately 4 million visitors utilize Lavon Lake’s 38, 327 acres each year. Lavon Lake has 16 parks, 244 picnic sites, 19 4-lane boat ramps, 5 beaches, 71 tent camping sites with water, 167 camping sites with electric and water hook-ups, a handicapped park, and 6 group shelters for large group picnics. Lavon Lake is also home to the Trinity Trail, a 9-mile equestrian and hiking trail, located between Brockdale Park and East Fork Park. In addition, Sister Groves Park, a 75-acre hike/bike trail is located between Princeton and Farmersville, adjacent to Lavon Lake. The primitive trail is open for day use only for hiking and off-road bicycling.
There are also two privately owned marinas and one fishing pier located on Lavon. Their facilities include fishing supplies, gasoline, snacks, soft drinks, rental of boat slips and boats.