History of Gainesville, Texas

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Gainesville is home to the Cooke County Courthouse, built in 1910 and designed by the Dallas firm of Lang & Witchell. The courthouse was designed in the Beaux Arts style with some Prairie Style features and influences from famed Chicago architect Louis Sullivan. The courthouse, nestled in the center of Gainesville features black and white marbled interiors and a tall central atrium capped by a stained glass skylight under the tower."

The courthouse grounds feature a towering Confederate soldier memorial, erected in the early 20th century by the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC), topped by a Confederate soldier facing northward, and bearing the following poetic inscription honoring Confederate casualties of war:

"God holds the scales of justice;
He will measure praise and blame;
And the South will stand the verdict,
And will stand it without shame.

Oh, home of tears, but let her bear
This blazoned to the end of time;
No nation rose so white and fair,
None fell so free of crime."

The presence of these monuments praising the Confederacy is ironic, given that Gainesville was the site of a notorious massacre of Texans by Confederate forces. The Confederacy had promised that Texans would not be drafted to fight the United States outside Texas. When it broke this promise Confederate officials feared that Cooke County, known to be loyal to the United States, would be the site of protests and would possibly secede back to America as several counties in Tennessee already had. It should also be noted that, when Texans voted on secession, Cooke County residents voted against the act.

Confederate soldiers rounded up over 200 Texans, and on October 1, 1862, hanged 42 after a mock trial. This event sparked a reign of terror in which dozens of Texans suspected of being loyal to America were lynched by Confederate soldiers.

Gainesville was once home to Camp Howze, one of the largest infantry replacement training centers during World War II. Only a few remnants now exist of the camp, but now are on private property.

Gainesville is home to Morton Museum, a small museum on a mission to preserve local history.

On one of Germany's biggest commercial television station there is a weekly docu-soap about the Reimann family, which emigrated to Gainesville, Texas, in 2004. They opened a bed and breakfast business at Moss Lake in 2007.

Physical Address | 715 E. California Street | Gainesville, Texas 76240
Mailing Address | PO Box 1359 | Gainesville, Texas 76241
940.665.1747

 

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