Gatesville, Texas

Coordinates: 31°26′12″N 97°44′7″W / 31.43667°N 97.73528°W / 31.43667; -97.73528
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Gatesville, Texas
Coryell County courthouse
Coryell County courthouse
Spur Capital of Texas
Location of Gatesville, Texas
Location of Gatesville, Texas
Coordinates: 31°26′12″N 97°44′7″W / 31.43667°N 97.73528°W / 31.43667; -97.73528
CountryUnited StatesUnited States
 • TypeCouncil-Manager
 • City CouncilMayor Gary Chumley
Barbara Burrow
Ollie Inmon
Timothy Woodlock
Jack Doyle
Ronnie Viss
Sandra Shepherd-Cain
 • City ManagerWilliam H. "Bill" Parry
 • Total10.52 sq mi (27.24 km2)
 • Land10.50 sq mi (27.20 km2)
 • Water0.01 sq mi (0.04 km2)
807 ft (246 m)
 • Total16,135
 • Density1,769.5/sq mi (455.91/km2)
Time zoneUTC–6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
Area code254
FIPS code48-29168[2]
GNIS feature ID1357921[3]

Gatesville is a city in and the county seat of Coryell County, Texas, United States. Its population was 16,135 at the 2020 census.[4] The city has five of the nine prisons[5] 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),[6] on the east side of the Leon River, part of the Brazos River watershed.

The city is 30 miles (48 km) from Waco.[7] It is midway between Austin and Fort Worth.[8]

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.[9]


City in 1884

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, about 5 miles west.[10][11][12]


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[13]

2020 census[edit]

Gatesville racial composition[14]
(NH = Non-Hispanic)[a]
Race Number Percentage
White (NH) 9,347 57.93%
Black or African American (NH) 2,557 15.85%
Native American or Alaska Native (NH) 52 0.32%
Asian (NH) 102 0.63%
Pacific Islander (NH) 13 0.08%
Some Other Race (NH) 20 0.12%
Mixed/Multi-Racial (NH) 440 2.73%
Hispanic or Latino 3,604 22.34%
Total 16,135

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 16,135 people, 1,986 households, and 1,151 families residing in the city.

2000 census[edit]

As of the census[2] 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.[17]


Two manufacturing companies are located in Gatesville:

  • Kalyn Siebert is a worldwide leader in the manufacture of premium, custom-engineered heavy-haul trailers and equipment for construction, oilfield and energy, national defense, and other specialized transportation requirements.
  • 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.[18]


Gatesville is the home of several prisons operated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, including the Mountain View Unit, which houses the women's death row. Gatesville is located on the northern edge of Fort Hood, and as such is also dependent on the military for a part of its economy (besides Fort Hood, a large military vehicle repair facility is located on the east side of town).[19]

As of 2012, the prisons in the Gatesville area employ 2,600 people. Most of the employees live in Coryell County. Timothy F. Orwig (born 1949) of the Cove Herald said, "Correctional officers in gray uniforms have been a common sight in the town's businesses for years, and the job of a 'prison boss' was once a highly regarded career choice in Gatesville."[20]

Christina Melton Crain Unit, a women's prison of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice

Of the eight Texas Department of Criminal Justice general correctional facilities for women, which include five prisons and three state jails,[21] five of the units,[22] including four prisons and one state jail,[21] are in the City of Gatesville.[22][23]

Mountain View Unit, which houses the state death row for women

The Christina Melton Crain Unit prison (formerly Gatesville Unit), the Hilltop Unit prison, the Dr. Lane Murray Unit prison, and the Linda Woodman Unit state jail are co-located amongst one another. In addition the Mountain View Unit, a prison with the State of Texas female death row, is in Gatesville. One prison for males, the Alfred D. Hughes Unit, is in Gatesville.[21] As of 2012, the 5,552 female prisoners and 2,958 male prisoners were over half of the population of the city.[20]

Mountain View Unit opened in July 1975, Crain opened in August 1980, Hilltop opened in November 1981, and Hughes opened in January 1990. The Murray Unit opened in November 1995, and the Woodman Unit opened in June 1997.[21]

Gatesville previously hosted the Gatesville State School and the Mountain View State School, juvenile correctional centers of the Texas Youth Commission.[24][25] The Mountain View State School closed in 1975,[25] and the Gatesville State School closed in 1979.[24] The buildings were transferred to the Texas Department of Corrections and were used as prisons for adults.[24][25]

Post office[edit]

The United States Postal Service operates the Gatesville Post Office.[26]

Public education and educational resources[edit]

The Gatesville Independent School District operates public schools. Gatesville has a public library.[27]

Parks and recreation[edit]

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."[20]

Other highlights[edit]

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 Texas".[28][29]

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 and longest continuously running.[30][31]

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

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


Cite error: Closing tag missing for <references>

External links[edit]

  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  4. ^ "U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Gatesville city, Texas". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on December 20, 2021. Retrieved December 20, 2021.
  5. ^ "Unit Directory - Region/Type of Facility/Map". Retrieved 2020-10-16.
  6. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  7. ^ "Women's pen may be changed" (Archive). Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. June 2, 1997. Retrieved on December 24, 2015.
  8. ^ Jackson, Bruce and Diane Christian. In This Timeless Time: Living and Dying on Death Row in America. University of North Carolina, 2012. ISBN 0807835390, 9780807835395. p. 143.
  9. ^ "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Census Summary File 1 (G001): Gatesville city, Texas". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved August 5, 2015.
  10. ^ a b "The history of Coryell County to 1920", by Zelma May Scott (1908–1973), University of Texas at Austin (masters thesis) (1946); OCLC 27251893
       Republished by the Texas State Historical Association (1965); OCLC 2193804
       Texas County and Local History Series, Vol. 4
  11. ^ a b Coryell County History; Stories, by Frank Elmer Simmons (1880–1966) (manuscript; unfinished) (1948); OCLC 5229872, 5229770
  12. ^ a b History of Coryell County, by John Henry Chrisman (1821–1922) (incomplete: taken from scrapbook in archives) (1945); OCLC 25498094
  13. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  14. ^ "Explore Census Data". Retrieved 2022-05-21.
  15. ^ Bureau, US Census. "".
  16. ^ "About the Hispanic Population and its Origin". Retrieved 18 May 2022.
  17. ^ a b Texas Tough: The Rise of America's Prison Empire, 1st ed., by Robert Perkinson, Metropolitan Books (2010), pg. 34; OCLC 317928797
  18. ^ "Company's Mr. Hurt makes model patient", by Pete Szilagyi, Dallas Morning News, July 3, 1983, sect. AA, pps. 16–17
  19. ^ "MATES Pride of the TXANG - Living - Fort Hood Sentinel". Retrieved 2015-10-01.
  20. ^ a b c d "Gatesville's penitentiaries bring 2,600 jobs to Coryell Co." (Archive), by Timothy F. Orwig (born 1949), Gatesville: Cove Herald, September 28, 2012 (retrieved November 13, 2012)
  21. ^ a b c d e Texas Department of Criminal Justice
       Unit Directory (retrieved May 10, 2010)
  22. ^ a b c "Former Downtown Waco Executive Director Moved to Gatesville Archived 2011-09-27 at the Wayback Machine," by Paul Gately, KWTX-TV, November 22, 2008 (retrieved May 20, 2010)
  23. ^ a b "Gatesville city, Texas Archived 2011-06-06 at the Wayback Machine." U.S. Census Bureau (retrieved May 10, 2010)
  24. ^ a b c d "Gatesville State School for Boys", Handbook of Texas (retrieved July 23, 2010)
  25. ^ a b c d "Mountain View School for Boys",Handbook of Texas (retrieved July 23, 2010)
  26. ^ a b USPS: Gatesville, TX (retrieved February 21, 2014)
  27. ^ a b Gatesville Public Library, City of Gatesville (retrieved May 30, 2010)
  28. ^ "Spur Capital" Archived 2014-03-05 at the Wayback Machine, by Martha Deeringer, Cowboys & Indians December 2011; OCLC 1069-8876
  29. ^ "Official Capital Designations", State of Texas", Texas State Library and Archives Commission
  30. ^ "Last Drive-In Picture Show Information" Archived 2014-02-27 at the Wayback Machine, (retrieved February 23, 2014)
  31. ^ "Drive-ins Making Big Comeback Across Texas", Associated Press via Dallas News, July 31, 2005, pg. 6A