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Gainesville, Texas … The Front Porch of Texas

Gainesville is indeed the “Front Porch of Texas” with neighbor helping helping neighbor, strangers lending a hand, kind words for all. In Gainesville, the Fourth of July is a time for BBQ’s and spending time with family & friends, reserving the fireworks displays for Veterans Day to honor those who served our country.

We enjoyed great food, enlightening conversation and as much red, white and blue enthusiasm as we could soak in. Big Texas Wake-up calls, fried pie, a parade,an  ice cream social for which the entire town came out! It’s all very understated in an enormous kinda’ way.

We went to the Frank Buck Zoo where we also saw the children’s park and play area that the entire community came together to fund and build with their own hands and tools. We ate fried apricot pie. We went to the museum where there is an exhibit featuring the Gainesville Community Circus. Years ago when the city was in debt, they needed to raise funds so they came up with the idea of a circus. Statistics showed that from 1930 to 1952 the circus troupe gave 359 performances in fifty-seven different cities and canceled only one performance, after a tornado destroyed the big top in 1939. In the twenty-five years of the circus at least 1,500 Gainesville citizens took part in performances before 500,000 spectators. Uniquely, the circus was put on entirely by amateurs who were residents of Gainesville AND had full-time jobs. They had no professional circus experience, received no compensation, made their own costumes and most of the rigging. Gainesville still has that resourcefulness and spirit today.

Gainesville is a a Medal of Honor Host City, the ONLY one in the US. They are all volunteer and was established to provide residents with a more interactive connection with America’s history, the military, and veteran community. Their mission statement says it best, “It shall be the privilege and responsibility of the City of Gainesville Texas to welcome our Nation’s Medal of Honor Recipients at every opportunity. In so doing we pay homage to the principles which the Medal of Honor represents… Duty, Honor, Country.” and that’s what they do…..

  1. Tommi

    I happened to be there the day y’all came through. I am a marketing rep for Heaven at Home Senior Care and go to Gainsville every Wednesday. I hold this town near and dear because the people there are so friendly to even us “outsiders”. Gainsville is a town that you can still leave your car unlocked, if you’re hungry there are great places to eat and you always feel welcome and if you have a minute left on your lunch break you can do a little shopping and find the most unique things there. Congratulations Gainsville for winning “The Most Patriotic Town in America”

  2. Bailey Green

    I couldn’t dream of a better place to call my hometown. Born and raised, we’re Gainesville proud!!!!

  3. Patty Bowden

    Thank you so much for visiting our little piece of heaven. Gainesville is the home of so many wonderful people…people who care for one another…people who support their military heroes, their police force, their firefighters. I grew up in Gainesville, attended her schools, came back and taught in those same schools for 34 years. Patriotism is just a way of life in this town.

  4. Kathi Kirby

    I have lived in Cooke County for the past 26 years. I raised my 3 children here and have felt very privaledged to be the part of such a great place.

  5. Cheryl Davis

    What a wonderful way to sum up our city. I have been a part of this community since 1993 and can’t see myself living anywhere else. Thank you for visiting Gainesville and seeing how great our city is.

  6. Lucille Canesa

    WOW!!!! I love the photos, so vivid. Beautiful story. I want to live in a area that the front porch is something so important to the neighborhood. It tells a story of true friendship and caring people. Real families and how a house is a not a house but a home. Thank you for putting this important message out there.

  7. Janice

    I loved the way the earlier investments in community “spirit” (MOH, Playground, etc.) were featured during an occasion which could never have been predicted at the time. Best regards to the Best of the Road team.

  8. Kelly Fiore

    Wonderful blog!

  9. Sandi DeMent

    We so enjoyed having y’all visit our town, and discover why Gainesville, Texas truly is the MOST PATRIOTIC SMALL TOWN IN AMERICA! We really look forward to seeing you again real soon!

  10. LWoodlock

    GREAT title for this blog! Yes, yes, yes, Gainesville is definitely the front porch of Texas. With such enthusiastic patriotism permeating our town, one can see why we love it here. Thank you so much for sharing our love of this community!

  11. Jim & Angie

    And here in lies the reason we chose Gainesville as our home just 9 years ago! We thank God every day for His love, our country, our Church and our home town!

  12. Barry

    We enjoyed your visit.

  13. DeeDee

    We love it, and it’s all so true!

  14. Marla Bentley

    I am so proud of the hard-working, patriotic citizens of Gainesville, Texas-the ONLY Medal of Honor Host City in America! Thank you Rand McNally, Best of the Road, and MidLife Road Trip for recognizing our town!

  15. Denise Brewer

    I love Gainesville. I married a Gainesville boy but we moved to my home state of Michigan in 1991. We spent 5 years there and then decided that our hearts were from Texas. We moved back to Gainesville and have no ideas of moving again. Patriotism is only one of the aspects that make Gainesville a great place to live. Thank you to all of the citizens who make Gainesville awesome!

  16. Vicki

    I’m very proud to have been raised in a community that has always honored our military, appreciated their sacrifices and taught a love of this land and the freedoms we’ve been given. Gainesville hasn’t always hosted Medal of Honor recipients, but people here have always loved America and what it stands for. It has always been the most patriotic city in America. I’m glad to call it home.

  17. Lynette

    What a wonderful description of Gainesville. “understated in an enormous kinda’ way”

  18. Leslie Nichols

    Rick and Sandy captured our best; our patriotism that is characterized in all that we do to help Gainesviile be the best that it can be, our great food, whether we are dining in or sharing a fried pie and finally our people. We all came together to show off what we already know… Gainesville is the most patriotic city, from the fabulous Medal of Honor program that every year honors a group of individuals who did remarkable things during incredibly difficult times to our youth who are growing up with terrific role models throughout the city who emulate what the word patriotism means on a daily basis. Come back and visit any time, our doors are always open and the rocking chairs on our front porches ready!

  19. Michelle Neu

    Loved having you come to visit us here in Gainesville & hope that you will come back again!!!

  20. Phyllis DeLancey

    We are a retired military family living in Gainesville, and enjoyed living here. It is a small friendly place, it reminds us of the days we spend moving around and meeting new folks all over the country, were ever our next duty station was.
    This town pulls together and get’s it done. Great feeling of community here.

  21. Dana

    So glad to hear you all had such a wonderful time in Gainesville, Texas. Absolutely beautiful photos! Thanks for sharing your stories and come back and see us soon!

  22. Bobby Clegg

    The people of Gainesville were truly blessed to have had Rick and Sandi visit our town. Win Lose or draw, we would love to have you guys return in April 2013 during our Medal of Honor week. It would be so great to see you again!!

  23. Pauline

    We all had as much fun entertaining you and you did being entertained! I’m convinced I saw a special glow over Gainesville last week! Did you get haunted at Miss Olivia’s? You gotta come back. Plan to be here for the real deal: Medal of Honor week, April 2013! I

  24. Mandy Davis

    Thank you Rick and Sandi! It was a joy being able to share Gainesville with you. What a beautiful description of our sweet community! Best line… It’s all very understated in an enormous kinda’ way. Loved it!

  25. Blake

    It was so exciting to get to show the outside world the inside of our Gainesville community. We are still riding pretty high on an amazing week with our Best of the Road visit and you can see it in every storefront and smiling face. We are so proud of our country and enjoy both living it out and sharing it with the world thru Rand McNally and the Best of the Road organization. Thank you for the opportunity.

  26. Tracy

    It is wonderful a city decided to do what the rest of us never considered…to honor the medal of honor recipients. Way to go Gainesville!

  27. Laura Otts

    Love our town!

  28. Paige

    Gainesville, Texas loves you, Midlife Road Trip. Thanks for coming to be a part of our family.