Immediately following the Civil War, leaders in Texas could see the need for railroad development through our state, so they gave thousands of acres of public lands to the railroad to come through Texas. This created a huge influx of people coming to Texas to work on the railroad.
The Texas & Pacific Railroad was created for westward expansion from East Texas. It later acquired the Southern Pacific Railroad Company, which ran from Shreveport to Longview. Gilmer and Quitman were along the original route of the railroad as it expanded westward, but landowners did not want to give up a path to let it through their towns, so the railroad had to change course slightly.
As the T&P went west. the International & Great Northern Railroad was going from south to north between Galveston and Kansas City, Missouri.
Knowing the the two tracks would eventually cross, a crossing point was established and it was decided that the first company who laid contiguous track across the crossing point would own the terminal property and get crossing rights. The race was on!
On May 23, 1873, the first train arrived in Mineola. it was the I&GN Railroad coming from Galveston and it arrived 15 minutes before the TP&R train arrived, coming from Dallas.
In the end, even though they won the race to the crossroads, the I&GN did not go north to Kansas City as they learned that the Missouri, Kansas & Texas railroad was building tracks from Kansas southward to Texas destinations.
This will be the first in an ongoing series chronicling the history of Mineola, Texas. The source for all material is the book “Mineola: the first 100 years.” This book can be found in the Mineola library or online. We are using a digital copy provided by the University of North Texas. The book contains many citations and credits. For our purposes, we will credit the book with all of the content we publish.
Mineola Buzz claims no ownership or rights of any kind to this published work. Our purpose is to provide local historical information to our readers by offering the history of Mineola as set forth in this book, while preserving all rights and offering proper credit to the creators of the book.