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Mineola, Texas - Travel Guide



Located midway between Longview and Dallas on the route of Amtrak's Texas Eagle, Mineola was for years a major division point on the east-west mainline of the Texas & Pacific Railway, as well as hosting a branch line terminal for both the Missouri- Kansas-Texas Railroad and the Missouri Pacific Lines. The downtown business district was originally built around the railroad station -- the community's center of commerce. Today, this historic business district has been transformed into an interesting variety of antique shops, specialty shops and restaurants. A variety of architectural styles from the past can be observed during a stroll through the downtown area, with one of the more noteworthy structures being the former First National Bank building. This imposing brick structure, constructed in 1912, now housing the Mineola Chamber of Commerce.

Mineola's railroad station was heavily modernized by the Texas & Pacific after World War II, but even this modernistic style is approaching 50 years of age and is historic in its own right. The depot faces Commerce Street and the downtown business district, a convenient location appreciated by past and present train travelers. A trackside gazebo provides an excellent site to relax and watch downtown activity, punctuated by the occasional passage of trains. Several former railroad hotels survive, including the Beckham Hotel which faces the railroad mainline from across Commerce Street. The Beckham is undergoing restoration as a bed and breakfast inn, with shops and a restaurant on the ground floor. Mineola's other railroad hotel, the historic Bailey-Carlton Hotel located just south of the depot, is abandoned and the imposing structure now faces an uncertain future.

Texas & Pacific passenger service disappeared from Mineola in 1969, and when Amtrak restored service in 1974, Mineola was not among the few cities chosen for intermediate stops. Mineola leaders began efforts to secure an Amtrak stop for Mineola in 1991, and after much work, this effort culminated with a large inaugural celebration on April 28, 1996. The westbound Texas Eagle now arrives in Mineola shortly after noon, while the eastbound Eagle arrives in the early evening. Visit the Texas Eagle web site for more detailed schedules.

Mineola offers an excellent getaway destination where it is possible to relax and retreat from the stress and interruptions of today's busy lifestyle. A visitor might spend time shopping and strolling around downtown or curled up with a good book in one the nearby bed and breakfast inns, but regardless of the activity, the "Mineola experience" is one to be enjoyed, savored, and repeated.

Several excellent bed and breakfast inns are located within easy walking distance of the downtown area, and most offer complimentary transportation to and from the Amtrak station. Each inn has a separate character, offering a unique experience to guests while housing them in historic structures which have been restored and maintained by innkeepers who take great pride in having preserved a part of Mineola's colorful past.

The Munzesheimer Manor, located on the corner of Newsom & Kilpatrick, was constructed circa 1898 by Gustav Munzesheimer, a German immigrant and businessman. This impressive structure was built in the 'Princess Anne' style (a less-ornate version of the 'Queen Anne' Victorian architecture) and has been painstakingly restored to its original grandeur. The main house includes two parlors, a large formal dining room, and four guest rooms. Three cottage rooms are also on the grounds, including two (the Engineer's room and the Conductor's room in the "Home Terminal") which have been decorated as a tribute to Mineola's railroad heritage. All rooms are furnished with English and American antiques and each room has its own private bath with antique footed tub. A large wrap-around porch, separate porches on the cottages, and secluded benches throughout the tree-shaded yard provide seasonal opportunities to mingle and visit with other guests or the privacy to simply read or daydream. Innkeepers Bob and Sherry Murray have operated this B&B since it opened in the late 1980s, and their unobtrusive hospitality has made this inn a favorite among many visitors to Mineola. Delicious German pancakes are a house specialty for breakfast. Transportation is provided to and from the Amtrak station for guests arriving via the Texas Eagle. Distance from Amtrak station and downtown: 3 blocks. Contact information: Munzesheimer Manor, 202 North Newsom, Mineola TX 75773. E-mail: Reservations: (888) 569-6634; Information (903) 569-6634; Fax (903) 569-9940.

The Lott Home and Cottages located adjacent to the Munzesheimer Manor at Kilpatrick & Wigley Streets, was built in 1918 by Angus D. Beaird, a Mineola businessman. In 1928, the property was sold to Howard and Vivian Lott, prominent leaders in the development of Mineola and Wood County. The house and adjacent two-story cottage is of prairie style construction characteristic of the early 1900s, surrounded by a large shaded yard and garden area. Two suites are available, each offering antique furnishings, a private bath, television, and a private porch with rockers. Miss Vivian's Canning Room, on the ground floor, is a charming suite, complete with a Grecian Jacuzzi tub for two, and a gas log fireplace. The Garden Gate, located on the second floor of the cottage, offers a private suspended deck with a romantic Hot Springs Spa for two, perfect for viewing a beautiful East Texas sunset. An outdoor patio with fireplace is also available for guests to enjoy roasting hot dogs or marshmallows in the fall or winter months. Innkeepers Mark and Sharon Chamblee provide transportation to and from the Amtrak station in a vintage 1941 Ford, and bicycles are available for guests who prefer this mode to walking when traveling about town. Distance from Amtrak station and downtown: 4 blocks. Contact information: The Lott Home Cottages Bed & Breakfast, 311 East Kilpatrick, Mineola TX, 75773. E-mail: Phone: (888) 232-LOTT or (903) 569-0341.

The Beckham Hotel is a genuine railroad hotel, built to house passengers as well as railroad employees laying over between runs. Located on Commerce Street in the downtown area, the hotel sits directly across the tracks from the Amtrak station. Several rooms overlook the tracks, and are favorites of guests who find Mineola's railroad heritage particularly appealing. The present brick structure was completed in 1927 after a fire razed the first (ca. 1880s) hotel. Big bands were said to have played in the upstairs ballroom during the 1920s and 1930s, and there are stories of bootlegging, ghosts and late night poker games interrupted only by the passing of trains. One upstairs room (with private bath) and two upstairs suites have been refurbished for public use and restoration is underway in other areas. The Beckham functions more as a hotel (offering a continental breakfast) compared to the traditional bed and breakfast inns where a full breakfast is provided. Contact information: The Beckham Hotel, 115 Commerce Street, Mineola TX 75773. Phone: (903) 569-0835.

A number of restaurants are available in the immediate downtown area, including the East Texas Burger Co. (on Broad Street, near the southwest corner of Broad & Pacific), Kitchen's Delicatessen (on the northwest corner of Broad & Pacific), and Domenico's (206 Graham Street). Kitchen's Delicatessen, uniquely situated within a functioning old-time hardware store, serves a variety of sandwiches, full meals, and homemade desserts.. The East Texas Burger Co., long a favorite of train crews, offers generous sized hamburgers, french fries and fried pies, open 11am-8pm Monday through Saturday. Gerri's Bakery, located inside Unique Mall (on Broad Street, adjacent to the East Texas Burger Co.) offers fresh baked breads, homemade soups, and desserts, Monday through Saturday. Domenico's [903-569-5460] is owned and operated by Domenico Berradicurti, a former executive chef at several well-known restaurants and an instructor at the Culinary Institute in Denver. Hours are 5:30pm-9:30pm Monday-Thursday and 5:30pm-10:00pm Friday and Saturday. Other restaurants located approximately four to five blocks west of the downtown area on Broad Street (U.S. Highway 80) include a Dairy Queen, Cicilan Pizza, Mineola Charbroil Hamburgers, and Ranchero Southwest Grill.

Numerous antique and craft shops, gift shops, art galleries and clothing stores are located throughout the downtown area, concentrated along Commerce, Johnson, Broad and Line Streets. Most are open 9am-5pm, closed on Sunday. (Stores along Commerce Street, adjacent to the Beckham Hotel and shops, are usually open on Sunday afternoon.) The Brownstone, which bills itself as Mineola's largest Antique mall, is located about one block south of downtown at 404 South Pacific, in the Westwood Mall. Current hours are 10am-5pm Tuesday through Saturday and 1pm-4pm Sunday.[903-569-6890]

The 70-year old Select Theatre (located on Johnson Street, near the intersection of Johnson & Kilpatrick) is the oldest operating movie theatre in Texas. First run movies are offered on weekends, usually with 7pm showings on Friday and Saturday and a 2pm matinee on Saturday. The Lake County Playhouse, a live-drama group headquartered at the Select, offers live theatre productions approximately one weekend each month. Phone: (903) 569-2300.

The LaSalle Art Gallery and Theatre is located on Johnson Street across from the Select Theatre. An art gallery occupies the first floor, with a second-floor theatre providing a great addition to the performing arts. A selection of gourmet desserts are served with coffees and teas at each performance. Evening performances are scheduled on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and advance reservations are recommended. Contact information: Linda Sale, LaSalle Theatre, 109 North Johnson St., Mineola TX, 75773. Phone: (903) 569- 0338.

The Piney Woods Pick'n Parlor, located in the grand ballroom of the Beckham Hotel, features a variety of concerts ranging from blues to bluegrass, folk to country, and jazz to Celtic. Concerts are normally held on the second Saturday of each month. The Coffee House offers live music entertainment on Saturday nights when no concert is scheduled. For information or reservations, E-mail: or call (903) 569-2185.

Numerous additional events are scheduled throughout the year, including tours of Dogwood and Azalea trails in the spring, tours of colorful foliage trails in the fall, and a Christmas Tree and downtown holiday lighting on the fourth weekend in November. For details on these and other events, or for a map of the downtown area showing shops, lodging and restaurants, contact Mineola Main Street Tourism, P.O. Box 179, Mineola TX, 75773 (Phone: 800-MINEOLA), E-mail: or contact the Mineola Chamber of Commerce, 101 East Broad, Mineola, Texas 75773. Phone: (800) 646-3652 or (903) 569-2087. Visit the City of Mineola website for a complete listing of restaurants, lodging, and special events.

Consult the Texas Eagle web site for current scheduled times at Mineola and all other stations along the route. For reservations and ticketing information, contact the Amtrak ticket office in Longview, Texas, 800-669-8509. For information on the train operating status for a given day, contact Amtrak at the above number or at 800-USA-RAIL.


Posted: Monday, 9 September 1997; revised 15 July 2002.