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Mineola: A Small Town With a Big Attitude

Rich history in a small Texas town

Deep in the heart of East Texas, there lies a little community called Mineola. The site of the Wood County Fair in 1895, Mineola grew to be an important hub within Texas. It was a burgeoning little town in the early 20th century where timber was grown for making railroad ties. It also became an important farming community where cotton, livestock, fruit, and berries were grown.

Mineola was incorporated in 1877, but its history goes back even further. As early as 1873, railroad companies competed to reach Mineola first. International-Great Northern beat its fiercest competitor, Texas and Pacific, by 15 minutes.

The city got its first post office in 1875. A fire in the 1880s destroyed many of the buildings then standing and before the town was incorporated it had its first newspaper. By 1890, there were seven churches, a free Black school, several hotels, and some banks. Mineola was growing up.

Mineola is still an important shipping center. Several industries have important companies headquartered there. A county airport calls Mineola home. And the town has been the subject of a documentary series aired on television.

With a population of less than 5,000, the town is still growing. In 1880, there were just a little more than 1,100 people living there. By 1920, the population jumped to more than 2,000. It surpassed 3,000 a decade later. However, the population didn't go over 4,000 until around 1980. In 2020, the Census was 4,823, representing 6.8 percent growth since 2010. Mineola's fastest growth period was between 1920 and 1930 when the population grew 43.7 percent and between 1910 and 1920 when it grew 34.8 percent.

Mineola has a historic walking tour. Theresa and I videotaped the tour a couple of years when we passed through Mineola. You can see it right here.

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