Gun Barrel City lies on the eastern shore of Cedar Creek Reservoir fifty miles southeast of Dallas and twenty miles northwest of Athens in northwestern Henderson County. The community developed after construction of the reservoir in the mid-1960s and grew rapidly. Sixty residents were reported there in 1970 and 3,526 by the early 1990s. In 2000 the population was 5,145. In the early 1970s residents of Gun Barrel City voted to incorporate so that local establishments could sell beer and wine. The town name is derived from its motto, "We shoot straight with you," and its symbol, a rifle. Long before the lake was built, Gun Barrel Lane (now State Highway 198) traversed the area. This mud road was a shortcut across Cedar Creek from Mabank to Trinidad and Seven Points. In 1987 community residents began local beautification projects and also collected aluminum cans as a fund-raising project to help restore the battleship Texas (see BATTLESHIP TEXAS STATE HISTORIC SITE). On two different occasions the city received second place in the Governor's Community Achievement Awards. During the early 1990s the area supported two community newspapers, the Monitor and the Cedar Creek Pilot.