Celina was established in 1879 and named by John T. Mulkey for his native town, Celina, Tennessee. A post office opened in 1881. By 1884 the town had a population of 150, a school (The first school in the “new” Celina was a small wooden structure. In 1906, a 2 story brick school building was completed on the campus where the Celina Independent School District Administrative offices are now), a Methodist church, and a cotton gin and gristmill, as well as several general stores.
In 1902, when the St. Louis, San Francisco and Texas Railway reached the area, “..considerable excitement was caused by the news that the Frisco railway was soon to extend it’s line through this part of the country. However, the right of way was to miss the town. Therefore, the merchants of the town made plans to move the town to the railroad. When the time came to move, the businesses and houses were each placed on rollers and pulled to the new site by traction engines. This was done in February 1902. Celina was incorporated in 1907.
In 1915 it had the first road in the county built exclusively for automobiles, Celina Pike. By that time it also supported two banks, a newspaper, and a municipal water works. Area residents receive electricity through the Grayson-Collin Electric Cooperative, organized in 1937.
In 1937 a partial listing of businesses and professional services included a dry goods store, 7 gas stations, 2 drug stores, an ice cream factory, 2 grain elevators, 1 flour mill, 2 ice houses, 3 cotton gins, laundry, lumber yard, shoe and harness shop, jewelry store, blacksmith, bank, movie theatre, churches, and a modern brick school building.
In 1950 there were 1,051 residents. By 1980 that number had increased to 1,520 and by 1990 to 1,737. In 2000 the community had 135 businesses and 1,861 inhabitants.
Roy Franklin Hall and Helen Gibbard Hall, Collin County: Pioneering in North Texas (Quanah, Texas: Nortex, 1975). J. Lee and Lillian J. Stambaugh, A History of Collin County (Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1958).