At the end of May, Mineola holds its Annual Classic Horseshoe Tournaments. There is a specific place for this sport on Front Street, Downtown.
Mineola also has May Days which is held the first weekend in May. There is a parade, dance, contests, arts and crafts fair, stage show, food booths, sidewalk sale and an antique car rally.
On the 3rd Saturday in October, there is the Heritage Arts Festival. There are demonstrations of skills, crafts and the way of life of the early pioneers. Many of the residents dress up in pioneer costume. There are wagon rides through the historic district as well as a parade, story telling and music. All the food for sale is cooked in the traditional pioneer way. You can see demonstrations of soap making, candle making, weaving, spinning and quilting. Admission is free.
Also in October is the Choo Choo Chili & Bean Blast.
Sports Park Downtown
Down by the railway tracks is a sports park although it seems that the various activities are a bit scattered. There is a basketball court, sand volleyball and city pavilion not to mention State Sanction Horseshoe Pits. Not exactly a hive of activity when I was there but nevertheless I’m sure popular for tossing those horseshoes.
There are a number of lakes within reach of Mineola, plenty of fishing and outdoor activities.
Lake Hawkins is 20 minutes away, Lake Fork (Bass Fishing Capital of Texas) is 10 minutes.
Lake Holbrook is only 5 minutes outside the City and Lake Quitman is15 minutes North.
"Gateway To The Lake Country"
Mineola lies in the East Texas Piney Woods area, around 80 miles east of Dallas in Wood County. The area was originally called Sodom. The town was first established in the 1840's which most of its settlers coming from the southern states of the US. The Northern and Texas Pacific Railroads entered the area in 1873 followed by the MKT in 1881 which made Mineola important in the areas commerce. A post office followed a couple of years later and the town was incorporated in 1877. Unfortunately during the 1880's, a fire destroyed 18 buildings in the town and the town began to rebuild. By 1890 there were several schools including a black free school, banks, hotels, 7 churches and the population had grown to 2,000.
This area was also the heart of the East Texas timber belt and the railroad made good use of it for tiemaking and lumber. Farm products included cotton, fruit and berries and livestock during the early years and a chair factory was opened in 1886. In 1900, this factory was turned into a crate and basket factory and continued to operate through until 1952. The opening of the Magnolia Pipeline Company gas line helped with the growth of the town during the 1920's.
Mineola is known as the 'Gateway to the Lake Country'. There are many lakes in the surrounding areas providing good fishing and recreational activities. The area also has some good pottery stores. There are a lot of good local craftsmen, artists. Musicians, writers and other artists in the area.
The downtown area is part of the Main Street program. You will find the streets lined with period lamp posts and ornate architectural detail on the old buildings. There are many lovely old historic homes in the town also which go back to the prosperous heyday of the early railroad days in Mineola. Most have been carefully restored to bring back those early times.
Mineola is also known as the 'Birding Capital of East Texas'.
Photos which are taken by myself and all headings are copyright and digitally marked. Please do not use them without permission. Thanks.(c) keeweechic 2001 - 2006 (copyright)