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Gainesville, Texas

Coordinates: 33°37′49″N 97°8′25″W / 33.63028°N 97.14028°W / 33.63028; -97.14028
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Gainesville, Texas
Downtown Gainesville
Downtown Gainesville
"Totally Texas, All American"[1]
Location of Gainesville, Texas
Location of Gainesville, Texas
Coordinates: 33°37′49″N 97°8′25″W / 33.63028°N 97.14028°W / 33.63028; -97.14028
CountryUnited StatesUnited States
 • City CouncilMayor Tommy Moore
Mayor Pro-Tem Ken Keeler (Ward 4)
Carolyn Hendricks (Ward 1)
Brandon Eberhart (Ward 2)
Michael Hill (Ward 3)
Martin Phillips (Ward 5)
Mary Jo Dollar (Ward 6)
 • City ManagerBarry Sullivan
 • City attorneyBelvin (Bill) Harris
 • Fire chiefWayne Twiner
 • Police chiefKevin Phillips
 • Total19.33 sq mi (50.07 km2)
 • Land19.30 sq mi (50.00 km2)
 • Water0.03 sq mi (0.07 km2)
751 ft (229 m)
 • Total17,394
 • Density901.2/sq mi (347.9/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
Area code940
FIPS code48-27984[3]
GNIS feature ID1373791[4]

Gainesville is a city in and the county seat of Cooke County, Texas, United States.[5] Its population was 17,394 at the 2020 census.[6] It is part of the Texoma region and is an important Agri-business center.


Founded in 1850, the city of Gainesville was established on a 40-acre (16 ha) tract of land donated by Mary E. Clark.[7] City residents called their new community "Liberty", which proved short-lived, as Liberty, Texas, already existed. One of the original settlers of Cooke County, Colonel William Fitzhugh, suggested that the town be named after General Edmund Pendleton Gaines.[8] Gaines, a United States general under whom Fitzhugh had served, had been sympathetic to the Texas Revolution.

The first hint of prosperity arrived with the Butterfield Overland Mail stagecoach in September 1858, bringing freight, passengers, and mail. In 1860, Cooke County voted against secession. In 1862, during the Civil War, the Great Hanging at Gainesville, a controversial trial and lynching of 40 suspected Union loyalists, brought the new town to the attention of the state and came close to ripping the county apart.[9][10] 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 7 miles (11 km) 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, its 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 10 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.

Since then, 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.[citation needed] In the early 1990s, Gainesville had 600 businesses and a population of 14,587. By 2020, the population had grown to 17,394.[6]


Cooke County Courthouse

Gainesville is home to a courthouse with an octagonal rotunda topped by stained glass, erected in 1910. "The 1912 Cooke County Courthouse was 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 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 is undergoing a major renovation project, resulting in the move of many county offices to surrounding buildings.[11]

Camp Howze, World War II[edit]

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


Railroads across Texas changed the nature and reach of commerce when they were built through and into areas. When the first railroad arrived in Gainesville, it improved the city's economics. For the first time, reliable, timely transportation meant goods and people could go vast distances. Gainesville was connected to the outside world in a whole new way with the coming of the railroads. For example, when the GC&SF arrived in 1887, goods could travel directly to or from Gainesville, directly to Chicago and Galveston, on the same railroad. Both were major transportation hubs during that age, and still are today.

Original companies and dates of arrival in Gainesville:

These turned into major railroads:


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[12]

2020 census[edit]

Gainesville racial composition[13]
(NH = Non-Hispanic)[a]
Race Number Percentage
White (NH) 9,280 53.35%
Black or African American (NH) 1,009 5.8%
Native American or Alaska Native (NH) 142 0.82%
Asian (NH) 218 1.25%
Pacific Islander (NH) 7 0.04%
Some Other Race (NH) 49 0.28%
Mixed/Multi-Racial (NH) 753 4.33%
Hispanic or Latino 5,936 34.13%
Total 17,394

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 17,394 people, 6,106 households, and 4,105 families residing in the city.

2000 census[edit]

As of the census[3] of 2000, 15,538 people, 5,969 households, and 4,005 families resided in the city. The population density was 914.1 people/sq mi (352.9/km2). The 6,423 housing units averaged 377.9/sq mi (145.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 80.77% White, 6.00% African American, 1.33% Native American, 0.55% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 9.09% from other races, and 2.23% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 17.47% of the population.

Of the 5,969 households, 33.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.2% were married couples living together, 13.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.9% were not families; 29.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 3.13.

In the city, the population was distributed as 27.2% under 18, 10.9% from 18 to 24, 25.8% from 25 to 44, 19.3% from 45 to 64, and 16.8% who were 65 or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 88.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $30,571, and for a family was $37,137. Males had a median income of $30,480 versus $21,459 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,154. About 17.0% of families and 20.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 29.5% of those under age 18 and 12.7% of those age 65 or over.


Gainesville ISD[edit]

The city is served by the Gainesville Independent School District, which consists of:

  • Gainesville Head Start (toddlers/preschool)
  • Thomas A. Edison Elementary (pre-kindergarten (age 4), kindergarten and grade 1)
  • W E. Chalmers Elementary (grades 2–4)
  • Gainesville Intermediate (grades 5–6)**
  • Gainesville Junior High School (grades 7–8)
  • Gainesville High School (grades 9-12)

The high school boasts various athletic and academic championships. The GHS varsity basketball team won the 3A-Division I State Championship in 2002, and the varsity football team won the 3A-Division I State Championship in 2003. A notable member of the 2003 championship football team was Darcel McBath, who was recruited by and played for the Texas Tech University Red Raiders and was drafted in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. Another player who went on to play for the NFL is Kevin Mathis, who played first for the Dallas Cowboys, then for the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints. The high school has also been historically competitive in University Interscholastic League academic competition, boasting numerous district, regional, and state championships in many categories.

Higher education[edit]

North Central Texas College Administration and Student Services Building

North Central Texas College (NCTC), a five-campus community college system, is headquartered in Gainesville, with the main campus being located on the west side of town.

The college, which the Texas Legislature designates as serving Cooke County,[16] has locations in Gainesville, Bowie, Corinth, Denton, Graham, and Flower Mound. Satellite locations exist at Northwest High School, Little Elm High School, and the Graham Education and Workforce Center. NCTC began as Gainesville Junior College in 1924, and has the distinction of being the oldest continuously operated community college in Texas. NCTC has come to be known for its ever-growing health-sciences program. It offers help such as writing and math labs, which are tutoring centers for students to get more out of their education. Areas of study include certified nursing assistant, associate degree nursing (LVN), registered nurse, emergency medical technician, and radiology technician programs.

NCTC Lion/Lady Lion Athletics, which consists of baseball, softball, volleyball, and women's tennis, competes as part of the National Junior College Athletic Association. The NCTC Lion baseball team won the 2001 NJCAA National Championship.


Gainesville is the headquarters of Safran Seats USA LLC ("SSUSA"); a company dedicated to the design and manufacturing of commercial airline seat systems. Originally established as Weber Aircraft, LLC, in 1968, the company was subsequently acquired by Group Zodiac Aerospace and became known as Zodiac Seats U.S. In 2018, Zodiac Aerospace and its subsidiaries (including Zodiac Seats U.S.) were purchased by Safran, a French multinational aircraft engine, rocket engine, aerospace-component, and defense company with headquarters in Paris, France. Since its inception, SSUSA has consistently ranked as one of the largest manufacturers of commercial airline seats in the world, as well as the holder of several notable patents for products created by its employees. With around 1,500 employees (as of 2019), SSUSA is the largest single employer located within Gainesville/Cooke County. In addition to the main headquarters facility in Gainesville, SSUSA also maintains operational facilities located near the Boeing Everett Factory in Everett, Washington; Boeing South Carolina located in North Charleston, South Carolina; and at the Airbus manufacturing site located near Hamburg, Germany.

Though most forms of gambling are not legal in Texas, Gainesville is commonly associated with the pastime due to its close proximity to WinStar World Casino. The casino, located less than 10 miles (16 km) north of Gainesville across the Red River in Thackerville, Oklahoma, has experienced exponential growth over the last decade, and is now considered one of the largest casinos in the world by total area. At over a mile long from end to end, the casino contains four hotel towers, a Global Events Center and as of September 2023, The Lucas Oil Live venue which host popular musical acts and comedians, used for concerts and other events, and an 18-hole golf course. Until the construction of the Winstar World Casino Resort and Hotel, casino visitors typically stayed in Gainesville-area hotels. The casino has played host to numerous events over the years, and because of the soon to be constructed convention center, is expected to be the site for a Built Ford Tough Series competition of Professional Bull Riders. The convention center and/or the Winstar Global Events Center will also host World Series of Poker tournaments in the coming years.

Gainesville is home to a large outlet mall (the Gainesville Factory Shops) which used to attract visitors from North Texas and southern Oklahoma. Constructed in the mid-1990s as a "destination" shopping mall, it has since become a distressed mall, with very few stores remaining in 2016. In 2018 the Property re-launched as Market Days at Liberty Crossing; a multi-use space which hosts a monthly market and numerous retail shops.


Gainesville is located slightly east of the center of Cooke County at 33°37′49″N 97°8′25″W / 33.63028°N 97.14028°W / 33.63028; -97.14028 (33.630360, –97.140323).[17] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 19.0 square miles (49.3 km2), of which 0.04 square miles (0.1 km2), or 0.15%, is covered by water.[18]

The town is located at the interchange of two major thoroughfares: U.S. Route 82 running east–west, passing over Interstate 35 (north–south). It is an exurb of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, 71 miles (114 km) north of the center of Dallas and 65 miles (105 km) north of the center of Fort Worth. It is also a part of the Texoma region. Nearby towns and cities include:

Weather and climate[edit]

Gainesville usually enjoys sunny weather similar to the rest of Texas, with the exception of a few natural disasters.

On June 18, 2007, thunderstorms moved through Gainesville, resulting in intense flooding. Over 7 inches (180 mm) fell in Gainesville and nearby Sherman.[19] On June 20, around 5:00 am, straight-line winds hit, and Wichita Falls had winds up to 94 mph (151 km/h). Much of the center of the town was flooded and several people died.

Climate data for Gainesville, Texas (1991–2020 normals, extremes 1987–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 82
Mean daily maximum °F (°C) 52.6
Daily mean °F (°C) 42.2
Mean daily minimum °F (°C) 31.7
Record low °F (°C) 5
Average precipitation inches (mm) 2.21
Average snowfall inches (cm) 1.3
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 5.0 5.1 6.6 6.2 8.8 6.4 5.2 5.2 5.7 5.9 5.2 5.0 70.3
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 0.4 0.2 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.2 1.0
Source: NOAA[20][21]

Government and infrastructure[edit]

The Texas Youth Commission operates the Gainesville State School in an unincorporated area east of Gainesville.[22]

Public library[edit]

The public library for Cooke County, Cooke County Library, was first established in 1903; the library is in Gainesville.

Parks, recreation, and tourism[edit]

Gainesville has a zoo, a historic train station, and a 45-acre (180,000 m2) fully integrated soccer complex. It has miniature one-quarter-sized 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. Gainesville hosts year-round adult softball for both men's league and co-ed league, a couple of seasons of sand volleyball, and a season of indoor basketball.

Medal of Honor Park

City parks include:

  • BP Douglas Park
  • Edison Park
  • Forsythe Transportation Skate Park
  • Gainesville Tennis Court Area
  • Georgia Davis Park
  • Heritage Park North
  • Heritage Park South
  • Home Grown Hero Walking Trail
  • Jaycee Park
  • Keneteso Park
  • Leonard Park
  • Medal of Honor Park
  • Moffett Park
  • Pecan Creek Park
  • Washington Park

Annual events[edit]

  • Every April, Gainesville hosts recipients of the Medal of Honor with a formal banquet and citywide parade. The Medal of Honor Host City Program pays for travel, lodging, and other expenses for any Medal of Honor recipient interested in attending. The recipients make appearances at schools and public events to talk about their service to their country.[23]
  • Depot Day: In October, Gainesville hosts a train-themed carnival.

Health system[edit]

Gainesville is served by a tax-funded public hospital district, which operates North Texas Medical Center, formerly known as Gainesville Memorial Hospital.



Gainesville Daily Register building


  • KGAF – 1580 AM & FM 92.3
  • KPFC – 91.9 FM (Camp Sweeney)


  • Gainesville gets over-the-air reception from Sherman-Ada, which also includes an OETA translator from Ardmore, Oklahoma. Amplified outdoor antennas can receive stations from Dallas.



Santa Fe depot

Gainesville has a historic rail depot. It is served by Amtrak's Heartland Flyer, which operates daily in both directions between Oklahoma City and Fort Worth.


Gainesville is served by the Gainesville Municipal Airport, a publicly owned and supported airport that was established following the transfer of the Camp Howze Army Airfield to the City of Gainesville. This followed the closing of Camp Howze in the mid- to late 1940s. The airport serves all types of general aviation aircraft, and is the host site for the Texas Antique Airplane Association's annual fly-in.

Roads and highways[edit]

Major highways are:

Parts of Interstate 35 through Gainesville do not contain any frontage roads. Frontage roads approaching the U.S. 82 overpass were not added until 2012. During this time, the overpass was expanded to make room for U-turn lanes.

Notable people[edit]

Photo gallery[edit]


  1. ^ "The City of Gainesville Texas". The City of Gainesville Texas. Retrieved October 19, 2012.
  2. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  4. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  5. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  6. ^ a b "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved November 25, 2023.
  7. ^ David Minor, GAINESVILLE, TX, Handbook of Texas Online, Texas State Historical Association, retrieved January 1, 2014
  8. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. pp. 133.
  9. ^ McCaslin, Richard B. "Great Hamging at Gainesville". Handbook of Texas Online, Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved May 30, 2014.
  10. ^ Smallwood, James (December 1976). "Disaffection in Confederate Texas: The Great Hanging at Gainesville". Civil War History. Vol. 22, no. 4. pp. 349–360.
  11. ^ "Historic Courthouses in Texas". Texas Historical Commission. Archived from the original on June 12, 2007. Retrieved July 23, 2007.
  12. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  13. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved May 22, 2022.
  14. ^ https://www.census.gov/ [not specific enough to verify]
  15. ^ "About the Hispanic Population and its Origin". www.census.gov. Retrieved May 18, 2022.
  17. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  18. ^ "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Census Summary File 1 (G001): Gainesville city, Texas". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved August 4, 2015.
  19. ^ Jennings, Chris (June 18, 2007). "Storms Swamp N. Texas". CBS News. Retrieved November 8, 2021.
  20. ^ "NOWData – NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved November 8, 2023.
  21. ^ "Summary of Monthly Normals 1991–2020". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved November 8, 2023.
  22. ^ "Gainesville State School Archived 2011-02-20 at the Wayback Machine." Texas Youth Commission. Retrieved on August 8, 2010.
  23. ^ Shafer, Dave (March 2014). "Valor Always Welcome". Texas Co-op Power: 8–11.
  24. ^ "General Lew Allen, Jr". TheOfficial Website of the US Air Force. Archived from the original on October 20, 2012. Retrieved October 19, 2012.
  25. ^ a b "Delania Trigg, "Celebrities make North Texas their home"". gainesvilleregister.com, September 15, 2012. September 15, 2012. Retrieved January 9, 2013.
  26. ^ "Kevin Mathis". databaseFootball.com. Archived from the original on November 2, 2012. Retrieved October 19, 2012.
  27. ^ "Darcel McBath". Texas Tech University. Archived from the original on August 6, 2012. Retrieved October 19, 2012.
  1. ^ Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.[14][15]

External links[edit]