Gun Barrel City, Texas

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Gun Barrel City is a city[3] in Henderson County, Texas, United States. The population was 5,145 at the 2000 census.

The town began as an unincorporated community known as the "Old Bethel Community" in the 1960s after completion of Cedar Creek Reservoir. It was incorporated in the late 1960s so it could legally sell beer and wine. The city takes its name from a former road, Gun Barrel Lane (which is now State Highway 198), as well as its motto, "We Shoot Straight with You" and its symbol - a rifle with two crossed antique pistols. Gun Barrel Lane got its name during the 1920s and '30s when outlaws frequented the area. It was considered a safe backwoods place during Prohibition when the likes of Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker hung out in the area. A local resident, Mr. C. L. Wait, lived along the road and was known for sitting at the window of his house with a shotgun sticking out the window. It was his way of deterring those he deemed unwelcome on this back country road.



Despite having a name that evokes images of the Texas Frontier, Gun Barrel City is only forty years old. Not long after Cedar Creek Lake (a reservoir for the Tarrant Regional Water District) completed construction, the fledgling community that sat on its banks took steps to officially become a city.

Gun Barrel City was incorporated on May 26, 1969. Since that time, Gun Barrel City has grown into the central hub and access point for the waters of Cedar Creek Lake. This has led visitors from around the region to use Gun Barrel City as the gateway into the lake. In addition to the high amount of tourism that the community witnesses (particularly during the summer boating season), Gun Barrel City and the surrounding communities have experienced a residential building boom over the past several years. This growth has largely been led by the relocation of wealthy retirees from throughout the Dallas region, building large lake homes in order to take advantage of Gun Barrel City's lake access.

In 2000, Gun Barrel City elected a 21-year-old mayor, Tye Thomas, who became a media and political celebrity in the Dallas metropolitan area. After he resigned in 2001, he and the community were featured in various publications and programs, including a story on the popular national radio program This American Life.[4]

In 2008, Gun Barrel City received the coveted Certified Retirement Community recognition from the Texas Department of Agriculture's Go Texan program. The community has also received recognition from the Governor's Office, receiving second place on two separate occasions in the Governor's Community Achievement Awards.[5]


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