Hometown Spotlight: Gainesville, Texas

The Fried Pie Co. in Gainesville, Texas, is a local favorite and a must stop for visitors. (Photo by Kaleb Elledge)

Gainesville’s location just seven miles south of the Oklahoma border has provided the town with a storied history of travelers as they enter the Lone Star State.

Founded in 1850, the city was established on land donated by Mary E. Clark. Colonel William Fitzhugh, an original settler of Cooke County, suggested the town be named after General Edmund Pendleton Gaine, a general under whom he served.

A stagecoach arrived in 1858, bringing life to the newly founded town. The town faced turmoil in 1862 after the Great Hanging at Gainesville, a controversial trial and lynching of 40 suspected Union loyalists, but in the decade after the Civil War the town fought hard to recover and began experiencing growth.

The town incorporated in 1873, and by the turn of the century was established as a commercial and shipping point for ranchers and farmers.

The inventor of barbed wire, Henry B. Sanborn, arrived in 1875, and sold the first reels of barbed wire ever in the Lone Star State.

A construction camp for World War II helped pull Gainesville out of the Great Depression, and since then, the town has continued to grow. The North Texas town even became famous in the 1930s for a popular circus.

The location was vital for visitors traveling along Interstate 35 on stagecoach and with the Santa Fe Railroad.

Its location has provided an easy route into the charming town, which today boasts a population of 16,349 with manufacturing the cornerstone of its economy. Gainesville is home to Zodiac Seats U.S., established as Weber Aircraft, the largest manufacturer of airline seats in the world.

It is served by the Gainesville Independent School District, which includes a head start, two elementary schools, intermediate, middle and high school. Gainesville is headquarters for North Central Texas College, a five-campus community college system.

There’s plenty to do for residents and visitors alike, including the unique Frank Buck Zoo sitting on the edge of Leonard Park and the town’s public pool.

To read the full story, pick up a copy of the January/February issue of LiveIt magazine.