Guntersville, Alabama

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The Guntersville Railroad Depot Museum is a newly-renovated train depot originally built in 1892 and presently owned and maintained by the Guntersville Historical Society.
The Guntersville Railroad Depot Museum is a newly-renovated train depot originally built in 1892 and presently owned and maintained by the Guntersville Historical Society.
Location in Marshall County and the state of Alabama
Location in Marshall County and the state of Alabama
Coordinates: 34°20′53″N 86°17′40″W / 34.34806°N 86.29444°W / 34.34806; -86.29444
Country United States
State Alabama
County Marshall
 • Total 42.4 sq mi (109.9 km2)
 • Land 25.4 sq mi (65.8 km2)
 • Water 17.0 sq mi (44.1 km2)
Elevation 650 ft (198 m)
Population (2010)[1]
 • Total 8,197
 • Density 347.3/sq mi (133.9/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 35976
Area code(s) 256
FIPS code 01-32416
GNIS feature ID 0157977

Guntersville (previously known as Gunter's Ferry and later Gunter's Landing) is a city in Marshall County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census, the population of the city was 8,197. The city is the county seat of Marshall County. Guntersville is located in a HUBZone as identified by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

The 2014 Bassmaster Classic was held on Lake Guntersville, which is part of Guntersville.


Guntersville is located at 34°20′54″N 86°17′40″W / 34.34833°N 86.29444°W / 34.34833; -86.29444 (34.348197, −86.294523).[2]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 42.4 square miles (109.9 km2), of which 25.4 square miles (65.8 km2) is land and 17.0 square miles (44.1 km2), or 40.14%, is water.[3]

Guntersville is located at the southernmost point of the Tennessee River on Lake Guntersville, formed by the Guntersville Dam (built by the Tennessee Valley Authority). Geologically, the lake occupies a southern extension of Sequatchie Valley, which continues south as Browns Valley.


Guntersville was founded by John Gunter (1765–1835), the great-grandfather of American humorist Will Rogers. John's own great-great-grandfather, of Welsh-English descent, had emigrated to the New World in 1644. John Gunter was the wealthy owner of a salt mine in the early 19th century. In order to obtain more land to mine, John struck a deal with the Cherokee tribe that inhabited the area to use in his household as servants. As part of the deal, John married the daughter (Ghe-No-He-Li, aka Katy and Cathrine) of the tribe's chief (Chief Bushyhead of the Paint Clan) and agreed to give salt to the tribe. A town sprung up next to the mine and was named after Gunter. The town of Guntersville puts on a festival every July to celebrate (Will Rogers), this festival involves many activities that Will Rogers was into.

For much of the 20th century, the economy of Guntersville revolved around cotton processing, especially with the Saratoga Victory Mill.

Guntersville sits on a 69,000 acre lake, Lake Guntersville, that is the biggest lake in Alabama. The lake is maintained and managed by the Tennessee Valley Authority. Bass anglers from around the country recognize this lake as one of the best in the country. Researchers have put this lake as the third best bass fishing lake in America.

Guntersville has one school system in the town which is made up of four schools; Guntersville Elementary School (Kindergarten-2nd grade), Cherokee Elementary School (3rd–5th grade), Guntersville Middle School (6th–8th grade), and Guntersville High School (9th–12th grade). In 2006 Guntersville High School won the 4A football state championship, which is the only football state championship recorded by a school in Marshall County, Alabama.

The current mayor is Leigh Dollar, the daughter of a previous mayor, and the first female to hold mayor's office in Guntersville.

Guntersville made national news on February 25, 2013 when it was announced the mayor was asking the city council to pass an ordinance allowing police to confiscate firearms of certain individuals in the event of a disaster.

Guntersville was the last place in which Ricky Nelson ever performed as a singer. His last performance was at PJ's Alley in Guntersville on Monday, December 30, 1985. His private plane departed Guntersville the next day, New Year's Eve, and crashed near DeKalb, Texas.

In Hunting Mister Heartbreak: A Discovery of America, the British author Jonathan Raban becomes a temporary resident of the city, to which he takes a liking in his conservative persona as John Rayburn. He is aware, however, that were his real views known the people of Guntersville might have been less welcoming.

Scratch John Rayburn, and he'd confess my own thoughts on politics, books, religion − thoughts that wouldn't wash in Guntersville.



Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 244
1880 325 33.2%
1890 471 44.9%
1900 618 31.2%
1910 1,145 85.3%
1920 1,909 66.7%
1930 2,826 48.0%
1940 4,398 55.6%
1950 5,253 19.4%
1960 6,592 25.5%
1970 6,491 −1.5%
1980 7,041 8.5%
1990 7,038 0.0%
2000 7,395 5.1%
2010 8,197 10.8%
Est. 2013 8,366 2.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[5]
2013 Estimate[6]

At the 2000 census,[7] there were 7,395 people, 3,061 households and 1,971 families residing in the city. The population density was 312.7 per square mile (120.7/km²). There were 3,518 housing units at an average density of 148.8 per square mile (57.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 88.17% White, 8.53% Black or African American, 0.49% Native American, 0.41% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.95% from other races, and 1.45% from two or more races. 2.87% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 3,061 households of which 27.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.5% were married couples living together, 13.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.6% were non-families. 32.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.88.

Age distribution was 22.4% under the age of 18, 7.1% from 18 to 24, 27.0% from 25 to 44, 24.3% from 45 to 64, and 19.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 88.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.8 males.

The median household income was $29,882, and the median family income was $39,464. Males had a median income of $36,175 versus $20,480 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,503. About 11.2% of families and 14.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.2% of those under age 18 and 16.3% of those age 65 or over.

Notable residents (Guntersville and Lake Guntersville)[edit]


  1. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  2. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  3. ^ "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Guntersville city, Alabama". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved June 4, 2012. 
  4. ^ Raban, Jonathan (1991). Hunting Mister Heartbreak. New York: HarperCollins. p. 218. ISBN 0060182091. 
  5. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Retrieved June 6, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2013". Retrieved June 3, 2014. 
  7. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  8. ^ "Chris Lane Bassmaster elite pro tournament angler". Retrieved November 30, 2014. 

External links[edit]