Aug 1st, 2012 | By | Category: Senior Travel

Flag-Waving in Gainesville

Gainesville, Texas was recently named of of the most patriotic communities in the country by Rand McNally and USA Today (July 20, p. 3D). I just had to check it out for seniors to explore, especially those like myself who love to wave flags, watch fireworks and sing patriotic songs.

Founded in 1850, much of downtown Gainesville was developed in the 1880s. The notable California Street hails from the early days when “forty-niners” traveled through to search for gold in the West.  Gainesville has many historic Victorian homes, complete with watchtowers that once served as lookout points for bandits and Indians. The town flourished with development of the oil, cattle, cotton, and horse industries. The Chisholm Trail, the Butterfield Stage Line, and the California Trail all passed through the area at one time, guaranteeing its longevity and strategic importance.

Just flip through this interactive visitor’s guide and read about the town full of historic homes, a thriving downtown, a fun zoo and senior travelers will discover a sophisticated spirit that abounds in Gainesville.

A Little History for Senior Visitors

Gainesville is located in a beautiful valley just 5 miles south of the Red River (the Oklahoma/Texas border) and 50 miles from the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. In 1841, W.S. Peters and associates signed their first contract with the Republic of Texas “which provided that within three years, they would bring 600 families into North-Central Texas” into what came to be known as the Peters Colony. The first settlers arrived in the area after the newly created Peters colony offered 640 acres to each head of family and 320 acres to each single man, plus land for a church in each settlement.

Before acquiring their tracts of land, these settlers were first required to swear allegiance to the Republic of Texas. They had to agree to construct a dwelling, to cultivate their fields, and to fence at least ten acres within three years. Founded in 1850, the city of Gainesville was established on a 40-acre tract of land donated by Mary E. Clark. City residents called their new community Liberty, which proved short-lived, as a Liberty, Texas already existed. It was suggested by one of the original settlers of Cooke County, Colonel William Fitzhugh, that the town be named after General Edmund Pendleton Gaines. Gaines, a United States General under whom Fitzhugh had served, had been sympathetic with the Texas Revolution.

North Central Texas College, a five campus community college system is headquartered in Gainesville.  The local newspaper is always a good means to find out what is happening in any community. TripAdvisor has found Gainesville to be a place to check out a couple great B&Bs.

It’s history that intrigues many seniors, for example, the “Great Hanging” incident in 1862  in which 40 men were lynched (and 2 shot) for being Union loyalists. This site is fun to explore; it has many links to a wide variety of information.  Enjoy your stay in Gainesville and while you are there, check out The Fried Pie Company at 202 W. Main Street. jeb

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