Off The Beaten Path - Mineola, TX

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joe817
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Off The Beaten Path - Mineola, TX

#1

Post by joe817 » Fri Sep 13, 2019 7:26 am

MINEOLA, TEXAS. Mineola is at the crossing of U.S. highways 69 and 80, eighty miles east of Dallas in southwestern Wood County. Before 1873 the place was called Sodom. According to some, Maj. Ira H. Evans, an International-Great Northern Railroad official who laid out the townsite, named the town for his daughter, Ola, and a friend, Minnie Patten. Others say the name originated when Major Rusk, a surveyor for the I-GN, combined his daughter's name with that of Minna Wesley Patten.

The town came into existence when the railroads built lines through this part of the state. In 1873 the Texas and Pacific and the I-GN raced to see which could get to Mineola first. The I-GN reached the finish fifteen minutes earlier. A city government was organized in 1873, a post office opened in 1875, and the town incorporated in 1877, but a fire in the 1880s destroyed eighteen buildings. The town's oldest paper, the Mineola Monitor, was founded in 1876. By 1890 the town had seven churches, several schools including a black free school, hotels, banks, and a population of 2,000. In 1895 Mineola became the site of the Wood County Fair.

Since Mineola was in the heart of the East Texas timber belt, timber was plentiful for railroad tiemaking and lumber. During the community's first sixty years, farm products included cotton, livestock, fruit, and berries. A chair factory opened in 1886, became a crate and basket factory in 1900, and operated until 1952. Highway improvement, the Magnolia Pipeline Company gas line, and the establishment of a railroad terminal caused growth during the 1920s, and the discovery of oil in parts of Wood County and construction of a T&P railroad shop spurred the economy during the 1940s.

By 1930 the population was 3,000, and by 1970 it was 4,000. Diversified farming gave way to cattle raising and watermelon crops by 1950. The Mineola Watermelon Festival began in 1948. Subsequently, sweet-potato farming, a creamery, a nursery, and a company that supplies poles and pulpwood to the telephone company helped the economy. The town remains a shipping center.

The Mineola Memorial Library, largely financed by H. W. Meredith, was completed in 1960. Nearby Lake Holbrook, also completed in 1960, attracts residents and visitors. The Meredith Foundation has provided large sums for educational and cultural purposes since 1962. Meredith Hall Civic Center, completed in 1977, is used by large and small groups for varied events. The population of Mineola in 1980 was 4,346.

The manufacture of women's clothing, sporting goods, electronic connectors, fertilizer, and cattle feed and the packaging of dry beans and meat provide employment for many people. The Wood County Airport, five miles north of Mineola, was completed in 1984. A new city hall complex was completed in 1986, and a two-school facility was completed in 1987. The population of Mineola in 1990 was 4,321. By 2000 the population was 4,550.
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Oldgringo
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Re: Off The Beaten Path - Mineola, TX

#2

Post by Oldgringo » Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:00 pm

I really enjoy these historic posts. I'm looking forward to one on Rusk, TX.

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Re: Off The Beaten Path - Mineola, TX

#3

Post by carlson1 » Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:13 pm

Very interesting. Enjoyed the history since I have some attachment there. I worked LE in Wood County from 1985-1989. Our youngest son was born there in 1988 at Wood County Memorial (Quitman) in 1988.
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Re: Off The Beaten Path - Mineola, TX

#4

Post by gamboolman » Sat Sep 14, 2019 12:36 am

Thank you joe817 for these posts.

Having been born and raised in East Texas but having lived all over Texas working the oilfields, we really enjoy them.
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Re: Off The Beaten Path - Mineola, TX

#5

Post by thatguyoverthere » Sat Sep 14, 2019 11:42 am

Yep, Mineola is a neat little town. Growing, like everything else around this part of the state, but still a neat little town.

They have a small AMTRAK train station there. We've taken our kids, and later our grandkids, there to catch the train, then ride it over to Ft. Worth and spend the weekend there and do a few things, then ride the train again back to Mineola. Makes for a fun weekend, especially for kids who have never been on a train before.

My wife and I were married in Quitman, the Wood county seat, just up the road from Mineola. We went to the county clerk's office in the courthouse on the square and got a form, walked across the street to a medical clinic and got our blood tests done (this was many, many years ago :lol: ), took that back over to the clerk's office, paid $5 for our marriage license, took that and walked down to the basement of the courthouse to the JP's office. He asked us if we wanted the "basic legal" wedding, or the more "traditional" ceremony. We opted for the more formal "traditional" ceremony. That meant that in addition to the legal stuff, he had us repeat some pre-written vows, then he read a short Bible passage. This was while we stood in front of his desk, and he sat in his chair behind the desk. I gave him another $5 and we were done. That took all of about 60 seconds. His secretary served as our witness, and I remember she had to take a Kleenex and dab a tear from her eye before she could sign the form as the witness. So then we took the signed license back upstairs to the county clerk and had it filed. And just like that, we were officially in the books as "man and wife." From the time we pulled up to the courthouse as two single people to the time we left the courthouse as a married couple took well under one hour and cost me $22 total (the blood tests were $6 each)! Then we spent our honeymoon night just up the road in beautiful Sulphur Springs, Texas, at a little roadside motel that's now long gone (Chili's is there at that location now). I remember there were two old ladies working the desk that evening and they were both so excited when they found out this was our "honeymoon" night. They were sort of fussing with each other as to which would serve as their very best "honeymoon suite" for us!

Yep, that's me. Just an old romantic softie!!! :lol: Guess that wasn't too bad, though. That was almost 50 years ago and we're still going strong! Guess I got something right! :hurry:

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Re: Off The Beaten Path - Mineola, TX

#6

Post by joe817 » Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:44 pm

Oldgringo wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:00 pm
I really enjoy these historic posts. I'm looking forward to one on Rusk, TX.
I did O.G. About 3 weeks ago: https://texaschlforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=83&t=97003

No worries. It's all good.
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Oldgringo
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Re: Off The Beaten Path - Mineola, TX

#7

Post by Oldgringo » Sun Sep 15, 2019 11:12 pm

joe817 wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:44 pm
Oldgringo wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:00 pm
I really enjoy these historic posts. I'm looking forward to one on Rusk, TX.
I did O.G. About 3 weeks ago: https://texaschlforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=83&t=97003

No worries. It's all good.
Thank you, Joe. I musta' missed it.

Today, the highway entry signs read some 5,500 population but, there are two state prisons and state hospital whose occupants were included in the last census; therefore, the 'walkin' round' population of Rusk may be less than 4,000 folks? Even so, Rusk is our home!

Thanks again!


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Re: Off The Beaten Path - Mineola, TX

#8

Post by The Marshal » Mon Sep 16, 2019 9:01 am

I grew up there. It is a small town.

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