Mineola natives look back on town’s history, celebrating 150 years

With two centuries under its belt, the city continues to share what makes the small town a special place for its residents
Mineola natives look back on town’s history, celebrating 150 years
Published: May. 19, 2023 at 6:33 PM CDT|Updated: May. 19, 2023 at 7:55 PM CDT
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MINEOLA, Texas (KLTV) - The city of Mineola is getting ready to celebrate their sesquicentennial with weekend-long events and open arms as members of the community gather to honor the place they call home.

“For 150 years of just being established, is pretty cool but we’ve just had spots along the way where we had no population and then something cool happened,” Mineola Marketing and Tourism Director Owen Tiner said. “We started to grow and then we’ve done things that have made us a prosperous city over time.”

Tiner, along with members of the city council, is a graduate of Mineola High School.

“If you look around here in city hall, we have nine people on senior staff; eight of them graduated from Mineola High School,” Tiner said. " I mean, we want to be here; we want to come back, we want to give back to the city.”

Even people who did not grow up in the city find themselves wanting to live there, like Mineola Class of 2023 Salutatorian, Campbell Littlefield.

“My whole family is here, and I’ve always at least once a year came to visit,” Littlefield said. “It’s always been a dream of mine to live in Mineola just because that’s where my grandma and my cousins lived, and I always thought it would be so fun just because it was different.”

Littlefield also serves as the Senior Class President and will lead the team in charge of the new time capsule placed by the Class of 2023.

For some of the residents living in the town, Mineola is more than a place to live.

Ricky Ramirez, 64, is a fourth generation Mineola resident with ancestors who lived in the town since it was a tiny community. Ramirez found himself coming back to the small town because he couldn’t seem to stay away from the place he grew up.

“I wasn’t gone for two years and I was ready to come back,” Ramirez said. “This is home.”

In his time living in Mineola, Ramirez worked as a train conductor, a business owner, and held multiple jobs in many of the businesses still operating downtown.

Mineola is known for its history with trains and most recently its expansion with Amtrak. Ramirez and his father both worked at the depot on the south side of the train tracks, with both of their names still on the wall as a mark in history.

Today he is a high school teacher with a specialty in HVAC, and he has seen generations come and go.

“As far as growth, the expansion of it [Mineola], has been a big change,” Ramirez said. “The one thing I see is they’ll move away, and they go get them a job, and then they always come back because this is the best place to live.”

On Saturday, May 19, the city is planning what they call a “huge party” to honor the city’s history and community, welcoming back people who have left their hometown. The day begins with a 5K at the Mineola Nature Preserve and will end at sunset with a hot air balloon glow at the Mineola Civic Center at 8 p.m.

“Starting Saturday morning, it’s going to be a just a full day of events,” Tiner said. “We have a parade at 11 a.m., live music, sidewalk shopping, and we have our community organizations from the school to different organizations in town, and we’ll have booths down there since the city will be down there.”

To find out more about the Sesquicentennial Spring Fling, visit the city’s Facebook page.