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Mineola is a city in Wood County, Texas, United States. It lies at the junction of U.S. highways 69 and 80, eighty miles east of Dallas in southwestern Wood County. The population was 4,515 at the 2010 census.EtymologyThe town was incorporated as the railroads arrived. It is believed by some that a railroad official combined the names of two prominent locals' daughters, Minnie and Olla, to create the city name Mineola. While these two girls did exist, the more likely story is that the city was named after the railroad official's hometown of Mineola, New York because of the area's beauty.HistoryMineola came into existence when the railroads built lines through the Eastern part of the state. In 1873 the Texas and Pacific and the International-Great Northern 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.Add Mineola and other destinations to your itinerary using our United States trip planner, and learn about what to see, what to do, and where to stay.
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