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    GUN BARREL CITY, TEXAS

    Town Slogan: "We Shoot Straight with You"

    Henderson County, East Texas
    FM 85 (off US175)
    58 miles SE of Dallas
    20 miles NW of Athens
    Population: (est) 4,000

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    History in a Pecan Shell

    Gun Barrel City, despite the frontier-sounding name, has only been around since the 1960s when the Cedar Creek Reservoir was built. The population was only 60 in 1970, and the people voted on incorporation so that the town could sell beer.

    The name originated from Gun Barrel Lane, which has become State Highway 198. It was a shortcut connecting Mabank and Seven Points and we think it's safe to assume the reference was to the relatively straight nature of the road.

    Our source, The Handbook of Texas Online, reports that the community has won second place (twice) in the Governor's Community Achievement Awards.

    Fishing is not mandatory, but it's more of a lifestyle than a recreation in Gun Barrel City. Remember their motto is "We shoot straight WITH you." Not "We shoot straight AT you." (Houston's unofficial motto).
    Gun Barrel City water tower
    Gun Barrel City water tower
    Photo courtesy Jason Penney

    Gun Barrel City

    (From "Cut and Shoot, Gun Barrel City, Gunsight, Point Blank and Winchester"by Mike Cox)

    The stereotypical Texan is seldom gun shy when it comes to settling a difficulty with violence, a mythology reflected in the number of Lone Star communities with names evocative of rough and tumble ways.

    At least five such towns come to mind: Cut and Shoot, Gun Barrel City, Gunsight, Point Blank and Winchester...

    Gun Barrel City is in Henderson County, about 20 miles northwest of Athens. As Texas towns go, it’s not very old, having started during the building of Cedar Creek Reservoir in the 1960s. Since then, you might say Gun Barrel City has grown faster than a speeding bullet, shooting from a population of 60 in 1970 to 5,000-plus in 2000.

    Many a barroom denizen has learned the hard way that gunpowder and alcohol do not mix, but Gun Barrel City was incorporation to facilitate the legal sale of beer and wine.

    The town got its name from its motto, “We shoot straight with you.” The town’s symbol, of course, is a rifle. But, as the Handbook of Texas Online points out, a roadway known as Gun Barrel Lane cut through the area well before the lake was there. Since the road represented a short cut from Mabank to Seven Points, the Gun Barrel descriptor might have had to do with its straightness between A and B...more
    Naming of Gun Barrel City
    I believe some of your information on Gun Barrel City in Texas is mistaken, of course it's all in who you ask. But a man by the name of J. C. Waits named the town. After his death is wife and stepson continued to run the first beer store until her death in 1990 I believe.- T.L. Fox, September 10, 2003

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    Texas Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories, or vintage/historic photos, please contact us.
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