History of Mineola – The “Friendly Village”
Mineola’s rich and colorful history brings the past and present together. The Algonquin Indians who gave this vast plain its name first inhabited Mineola. Two of the remaining evidences of the Indians presence here are their old paths which we now call, “Jericho Turnpike,” and, “Old Country Road.” These original inhabitants gave the present dwellers the main lifelines of this community.
Getting Our Name
Mineola is part of the land Henry Hudson claimed in September 1609 for the Dutch East India Company. The first settlers who arrived in 1637 were farmers. They called this area “Hempstead Plains.”
The town grew slowly with little documented on it until 1844. At this time the first post office was established and the town was then named “Hempstead Branch but was most referred to it by its nickname – “The Branch”. On June 12, 1858, “The Branch” was officially named “Mineola.” The name was derived from the Algonquin Indian word “Meniolagamika” which means “a friendly or pleasant village”.
The Other Mineola
MINEOLA, TEXAS – There is a town in Texas called “Mineola” that was named by a railroad employee whose job it was to name towns that had no names as the railroad was putting stations in during its expansion throughout the West. This employee was homesick for his hometown, Mineola New York, so he liked this town and named it after his hometown. This is a true story and is in the history records of Mineola, Texas.
The Mineola Fair
Over the years Mineola became the center of Nassau County which was mainly made up of agriculturally based communities. In 1865 Mineola began holding “The Mineola Fair’ where farmers purchased and traded produce and livestock. “The Mineola Fair” was held each year on what is now the ground of the County Court House buildings. “The Mineola Fair” ran every year from 1865 until 1953 when Mineola and Nassau County were no longer predominantly agricultural areas. “The Mineola Fair” was restarted again in 1991 by the current Mineola Chamber of Commerce and The Village of Mineola and has continued each year as an annual event. Some traditions continue at the fair. At the 2001 Mineola Fair we honored the winner of the 1925 beautiful baby contest who came to visit us. We still hold a beautiful baby contest every year at the Mineola Fair which is now no longer agriculturally based. The Mineola Fair takes place in May on Armed Forces Day and is attended by about eight to ten thousand people. We have about 750 people perform on the stage during the day with displays of local businesses, craft venders, and local non-profit organizations as well as children’s rides and a petting zoo. “The Mineola Fair” is the largest annual event in Mineola.