Gun Barrel City, Texas
|Gun Barrel City, Texas|
|— City —|
|• Total||5.2 sq mi (13.5 km2)|
|• Land||5.1 sq mi (13.3 km2)|
|• Water||0.1 sq mi (0.1 km2)|
|Elevation||351 ft (107 m)|
|• Density||1,112.2/sq mi (426.5/km2)|
|Time zone||Central (CST) (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|Area code(s)||430, 903|
|GNIS feature ID||1337131|
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 fifty 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 May 2000, Gun Barrel City voters elected their 13th Mayor, 21-year-old Entrepreneur and Newspaper Publisher, Randal Tye Thomas, who became a media and political celebrity in the Dallas, Texas metropolitan area. After a very successful year as Mayor, marked by widespread community support, he resigned suddenly in May 2001 following a Grand Jury indictment for one count of misdemeanor perjury and in the same week being arrested by the Gun Barrel City Police Department for Public Intoxication. All criminal charges were eventually dismissed. Thomas and the community were featured in many local, state, and national publications and programs, including a feature story in the magazine Texas Monthly and a feature interview on the popular nationwide NPR program This American Life. Thomas moved to the Dallas, Texas area in 2002.
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.
Nestled on the shores of Cedar Creek Lake, 55 miles southeast of downtown Dallas, Gun Barrel City is the retail hub for a trade area of more than 75,000 people and features no city property tax.
The lake itself is the fourth largest in Texas with 220+ miles of shoreline, making it one of the most popular lakes for boating and fishing.
Modest lakefront homes, selling for less than $100,000 five years ago, now easily fetch $200,000 or more. New lakeshore home construction boasts an average price of $566,000 and from 2006 to date, 56 new lakefront homes have been built with a median price of $544,000.
All of this activity has swelled the stated population of 5,000+ to more than 10,000 during the boating season, which now starts before Memorial Day and extends well past Labor Day. 
As of the census of 2000, there were 5,145 people, 2,163 households, and 1,498 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,000.5 people per square mile (386.5/km²). There were 2,736 housing units at an average density of 532.0 per square mile (205.5/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 94.23% White, 1.11% African American, 0.76% Native American, 0.76% Asian, 1.32% from other races, and 1.83% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.60% of the population.
There are 2,163 households, of which 24.8% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.5% were married couples living together, 9.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.7% are classified as non-families by the United States Census Bureau. Of 2,163 households, 78 are unmarried partner households: 63 heterosexual, 6 same-sex male, and 9 same-sex female households. 26.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.82.
In the city the population was spread out with 21.8% under the age of 18, 7.0% from 18 to 24, 23.7% from 25 to 44, 25.0% from 45 to 64, and 22.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 93.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.6 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $30,075, and the median income for a family was $34,321. Males had a median income of $33,872 versus $21,563 for females. The per capita income for the town was $21,046. About 13.1% of families and 14.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.6% of those under age 18 and 9.7% of those age 65 or over.
Gun Barrel City is within the Mabank Independent School District. Elementary schools include Southside Elementary, Central Elementary, and Lakeview Elementary.
A new high school campus opened in the fall of 2007. The new campus is adjacent to the old high school in Mabank.
The Gun Barrel City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) is a community team made up of resident executives and business owners, responsible for attracting new investment and helping expand existing businesses within the City. With a seven member board, one staff person and Orasi Development – an economic development consultant, the Gun Barrel City EDC is funded by a $.0025 sales tax that allows the EDC to accomplish its goals.
The Gun Barrel City EDC provides business assistance to qualifying companies. They evaluate incentives for businesses to locate or expand in the Gun Barrel City area and base their findings on taxes assessed and paid, the number of jobs created or retained, wages paid, local purchases of products and services, indirect employment gains and the general benefit of furthering the mission of the Gun Barrel City Economic Development Corporation.
They primarily seek businesses in manufacturing, production, medical/health, hospitality and distribution. Funds may be used in land lease/purchase, building lease/purchase, rehabilitation or construction, capital equipment purchase, infrastructure improvements or employee training. Funds may not be used for venture or equity capital, working capital/inventories or personal loans. Forms of business assistance include loans/loan guarantees, SBA 504, SBA 7(A) guaranteed and direct loan, and the rural economic development fund. 
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- US Census change list
- Lawrence Kestenbaum. "Index to Politicians: Thomas, O to R". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved 2010-07-25.
- "dallasnews.com | Archives". Nl.newsbank.com. 2001-05-16. Retrieved 2010-07-25.
- Gun Barrel City municipal website, http://www.gunbarrelcity.net
- Gun Barrel City Economic Development Corporation website
- Gun Barrel City website
- Gun Barrel City, TX from the Handbook of Texas Online
- Cedar Creek Pilot—local newspaper
- Mabank Monitor—local newspaper