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Gatesville, Texas
Coryell County courthouse
Coryell County courthouse
Spur Capital of Texas
Location of Gatesville, Texas
Location of Gatesville, Texas
Country United StatesUnited States
State TexasTexas
County Coryell
 • Type Council-Manager
 • Total 10.52 sq mi (27.24 km2)
 • Land 10.50 sq mi (27.20 km2)
 • Water 0.01 sq mi (0.04 km2)
807 ft (246 m)
 • Total 16,135
 • Density 1,769.5/sq mi (455.91/km2)
Time zone UTC–6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
Area code(s) 254
FIPS code 48-29168
GNIS feature ID 1357921

Gatesville is a city in and the county seat of Coryell County, Texas, United States. Its population was 16,135 at the 2020 census. The city has five of the nine prisons and state jails for women operated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. One of the facilities, the Mountain View Unit, has the state's death row for women.

Gatesville is part of the KilleenTempleFort Hood metropolitan statistical area.


The city is located northeast of the center of Coryell County at 31°26′12″N 97°44′7″W / 31.43667°N 97.73528°W / 31.43667; -97.73528 (31.436755, -97.735257), on the east side of the Leon River, part of the Brazos River watershed.

The city is 30 miles (48 km) from Waco. It is midway between Austin and Fort Worth.

U.S. Route 84 runs through the city, leading east 37 miles (60 km) to Waco and west 50 miles (80 km) to Goldthwaite. Texas State Highway 36 passes through the east side of the city, leading northwest 32 miles (51 km) to Hamilton and southeast 35 miles (56 km) to Temple.

According to the United States Census Bureau, Gatesville has a total area of 8.9 square miles (23.1 km2), of which 0.004 square miles (0.01 km2), or 0.05%, is covered by water.


Gatesville was established in 1854 on land donated by Richard G. Grant (1808–1858), shortly after the organization of Coryell County. The name was taken from Fort Gates, which had been established in 1849 five miles west.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 434
1890 1,375 216.8%
1900 1,865 35.6%
1910 1,929 3.4%
1920 2,499 29.5%
1930 2,601 4.1%
1940 3,177 22.1%
1950 3,856 21.4%
1960 4,626 20.0%
1970 4,683 1.2%
1980 6,078 29.8%
1990 11,492 89.1%
2000 15,591 35.7%
2010 15,751 1.0%
2019 (est.) 12,401 −21.3%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, 15,591 people, 2,640 households, and 1,752 families resided in the city. The population density was 1,794.2 people per square mile (692.7/km2). There were 2,963 housing units at an average density of 341.0 per square mile (131.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 63.20% White, 27.00% African American, 0.34% Native American, 0.35% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 8.49% from other races, and 0.56% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 14.73% of the population.

Of the 2,640 households, 32.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.2% were married couples living together, 13.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.6% were not families. About 29.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 3.04.

In the city, the age distribution was 11.7% under 18, 10.3% from 18 to 24, 53.9% from 25 to 44, 16.3% from 45 to 64, and 7.7% who were 65 or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 63.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 59.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $29,534, and for a family was $36,543. Males had a median income of $30,625 versus $17,073 for females. The per capita income for the city was $11,152. About 12.4% of families and 14.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.7% of those under age 18 and 14.9% of those age 65 or over.

Due to the establishment of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice prisons, from 1980 to 2010, the population doubled. As of 2000, about 9,000 of the 15,591 residents were state prisoners.

Post office

The United States Postal Service operates the Gatesville Post Office.

Public education and educational resources

The Gatesville Independent School District operates public schools. Gatesville has a public library.

Parks and recreation

Since 2000 the Prison Boss Cookoff, a barbecue competition that serves as a fundraiser for the Correctional Peace Officers Foundation, has been held every year. Orwig described it as "a family gathering of prison workers."

Other highlights

Old map-Gatesville-1884
City in 1884

Donated in 1991, the Coryell County Museum in Gatesville is home to the Loyd and Madge Mitchell Collection of about 10,000 pairs of spurs, thought to be the largest such collection in the world. In 2001, the 77th Texas Legislature designated Gatesville the "Spur Capital of the Texas".

As of 2014, the Last Drive-In Picture Show in Gatesville, opened by Gene Palmer in 1955 — and, as of 2004, owned by his son, Audie Gene Palmer (1957–2004) — is one of 17 remaining Drive-in theaters in Texas; of those 17, it is one of oldest (sixty-nine years old) and longest running without cessation.

The Gatesville High School Hornets are the 2000 Texas UIL 4A high school football champions.


Two manufacturing companies are located in Gatesville:

  • Laerdal Medical Corporation, a division of Laerdal based in Norway, is a manufacturer of plastic medical teaching supplies. The division, formerly known as Medical Plastics Laboratories, Inc., was founded in 1949 by three Gatesville doctors. In January 2000, it was sold to Laerdal.

Notable people

  • William Blankenship (born 1928), opera tenor
  • Bart Bryant (born 1962), professional golfer
  • Cotton Davidson (born 1931), former AFL and NFL quarterback
  • Dan Edwards (1926–2001), professional football player
  • Mary Beth Harrell (born 1956), regional TV talk-show host and former prosecutor for the City of Temple
  • Taurean Henderson (born 1983), former NFL football player
  • David Holt (born 1946), musician
  • Jim Miller (1866–1909), outlaw who lived with his sister and brother-in-law on the Plum Ranch, outside of Gatesville
  • Frank S. Page, pastor
  • J. D. Sheffield (born 1960), physician and state legislator
  • Benny Thomasson (1909–1984), Texas fiddler
  • Bulldog Turner (1919–1998), NFL football player
  • Mike Weaver (born 1951), former WBA boxer

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Gatesville (Texas) para niños

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