Mineola's attractive downtown is a result of its participation in the Texas Main Street City program. This small town claims to be The Birding Capital of East Texas. Lake Fork (10 minutes from town) is known as The Bass Fishing Capital of Texas. Three other lakes are within 20 minutes of town. The Mineola Nature Preserve is a 2,900-acre wetlands preservation area on the Sabine River. The town is serviced by Amtrak, the national railroad passenger system. Mineola is the rail stop between Dallas and Longview, Texas. The Mineola Watermelon Festival began in 1948. According to the Texas State Historical Association, the name Mineola likely derived from Ira H. Evans, an International-Great Northern Railroad official who laid out the townsite, and named the town as a contraction of his daughters name, Ola, and a friend, Minnie Patten.
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