City of Gatesville, Texas

City of Gatesville, Texas

Historic Map of the City of Gatesville, Texas, circa 1884.  Photograph by Augustus Koch.
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Gatesville, the county seat of Coryell County, is on the Leon River at the intersection of U.S. Highway 84 and State Highway 36, eighty miles north of Austin in the central part of the county. It was established on land donated by Richard G. Grant shortly after the county was organized in 1854 and took its name from nearby Fort Gates. James C. Newton became the first postmaster when the post office was established in July of that year. Gatesville was fairly isolated during the early years of its existence. Supplies had to be brought by wagon from Houston, 200 miles away. The town grew slowly in the late 1850s and little, if any, during the Civil War. Afterward, however, the town profited from the large influx of settlers moving to Texas to build new lives. In 1870 Gatesville was incorporated with a mayoral form of government; by 1880 its population had risen to 434, and it had become an important frontier supply station.

In the early 1880s residents of Gatesville gave $30,000 and land to the Texas and St. Louis Railway so that rail service could be extended to their town. The Waco-to-Gatesville section of the railroad was completed in 1882, opening Coryell County to outside markets and making Gatesville the county's major shipping and supply center. By 1884 the town had steam grist and saw mills, cotton gins, several assorted businesses, three churches, two schools, and two weekly newspapers to serve an estimated population of 600. By 1890 the population had more than doubled to 1,375. In 1911 the Stephenville North and South Texas completed the section of track between Hamilton and Gatesville. The population rose from 1,929 in 1910 to 2,499 in 1920. Unfortunately, the SN&ST encountered financial difficulties and declared bankruptcy in the mid-1930s; the track was abandoned in 1942.

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Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl | © TSHA

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Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

Belongs to

Gatesville is part of or belongs to the following places:

Currently Exists


Place type

Gatesville is classified as a Town

Associated Names

  • [Gates]


Latitude: 31.43875450
Longitude: -97.74420400

Has Post Office


Is Incorporated


Gatesville by the Numbers

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Population Counts

Pop. Year Source
16,135 2020 United States Census Bureau
16,078 2019 Texas Demographic Center
15,751 2010 United States Census Bureau
15,591 2000 United States Census Bureau
11,492 1990 United States Census Bureau