Gainesville is a city in and the county seat of Cooke County, Texas, United States. The population was 16,002 at the 2010 census.
Highway 82, Lawrence Street
|Motto: "The Star Of North Texas"|
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.
The first hint of prosperity arrived with the Butterfield Overland MailStagecoach in September 1858, bringing freight, passengers, and mail. During the Civil War, the Great Hanging at Gainesville, a controversial trial and hanging of 40 suspected Union loyalists, brought the new town to the attention of the state and came close to ripping the county apart. In the decade after the Civil War, Gainesville had its first period of extended growth, catalyzed by the expansion of the cattle industry in Texas. Gainesville, only seven miles from the Oklahoma border, became a supply point for cowboys driving herds north to Kansas. The merchants of Gainesville reaped considerable benefits from the passing cattle drives.
Within 20 years, the population increased from a few hundred to more than 2,000. Gainesville was incorporated on February 17, 1873 and by 1890 was established as a commercial and shipping point for area ranchers and farmers. In the late 1870s two factors drastically altered the historic landscape of North Central Texas. The first of these was barbed wire. In 1875, Henry B. Sanborn, a regional sales agent for Joseph Glidden’s Bar Fence Company of DeKalb, Illinois traveled to Texas. That autumn, he chose Gainesville as one of his initial distribution points for the newly invented barbed wire which his employer had patented the previous year. On his first visit to Gainesville, he sold ten reels of the wire to the Cleaves and Fletcher hardware store –the first spools of barbed wire ever sold in Texas.
World War II had an enormous impact on Cooke County. Camp Howze, an army infantry training camp, was established on some of the best farmland in the county. The construction of the camp helped bring Cooke County out of the Great Depression by providing jobs. The county population doubled and the area boomed. In the last several years, tourism has brought renewed prosperity to the area. The return of Amtrak on June 14, 1999 brought Gainesville back full circle to one of the original sources of its growth and success. In the early 1990s, Gainesville had 600 businesses and a population of 14,587. In the year 2000, the population was 15,538, with the population after the 2010 Census being just over 16,000 people.
Gainesville has a zoo, a historic train station, and a 45-acre (180,000 m2) fully integrated soccer complex. It has miniature 1/4 size replica steam engine passenger train which was disassembled from its former location and then reassembled in Leonard Park for viable transportation for up to 50 passengers for tours around the Park. Leonard Parks' wooden playground was expanded in 1999 and is located near the entrance to the Frank Buck Zoo. Gaiensville hosts year-round adult softball for both men's league and coed league, a couple of seasons of sand volleyball, and a season of indoor basketball.
City Parks include: