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Gallatin's main commercial street
Gallatin is a city in and the county seat of Sumner Countymarker, Tennesseemarker, United Statesmarker, along a navigable tributary of the Cumberland River. The population was 23,230 at the 2000 census. Named for U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin, the city was established and made the county seat of Sumner County in 1802.

Several national companies have facilities or headquarters in Gallatin, including GAP, Inc., RR Donnelley, and Servpro Industries, Inc. Gallatin was formerly the headquarters of Dot Records. The city is also home to Volunteer State Community College, the largest two-year college in the state.


The second oldest county in Middle Tennessee, Sumner Countymarker was created by an act of the General Assembly of the State of North Carolinamarker in November 1786. The county was named for Revolutionary War soldier Colonel Jethro Sumner. Gallatin was established in 1802 as the permanent county seat. The town was named after Albert Gallatin, Secretary of Treasury to presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Andrew Jackson became one of the first to purchase a lot when the town was surveyed and platted in 1803. He also founded the first general store in Gallatin. That same year, the first courthouse and jail were built on the central town square. In 1815, the town was first incorporated and would later function under a Charter established by a 1953 Private Act of the State Legislature. The town was built around an open square.

At the beginning of the Civil War, the citizens of Gallatin were mostly opposed to secession from the Union. Eventually, the citizens placed their nearly unanimous support in the Confederacy. When fighting began in April 1861, soldiers from Sumner County began joining ranks.

The Union Army first captured Gallatin in February 1862. It was an important location because the railroad and Cumberland River were significant transportation routes which the Union Army wanted to control. In July, General John Hunt Morgan recaptured Gallatin and held it until Confederate forces fell back to Chattanoogamarker. So many enslaved blacks went to Union lines that the Union established a contraband camp at Gallatin to house the slaves. They were fed with troop food, and worked for pay at various tasks.

In November 1862 Union General Eleazar A. Paine took over the town again and Union troops occupied it throughout the war. Paine was notoriously cruel and was replaced in command before the end of the war. In her diary, a local 16-year-old girl Alice Williamson told about Paine's summary execution of suspected spies in the town square. The long occupation drained the area of resources, as Union troops lived off the land, confiscating livestock and crops from area farms. By the end of the war, there was widespread social and economic breakdown and dislocation in the area, as could be seen by a rise in crime, and the neglect and deterioration of fences. Occupational forces of the Union army stayed in Gallatin after the war.

As in many other areas of Sumner County, in the aftermath of fighting, freedpeople migrated from farms into town to gather in community and escape some white control. At the same time, many whites moved from town out to farms for a while. The formerly prosperous area that had mixed farming and livestock raising needed years to get reestablished.

In the summer of 1873 the town was devastated by an epidemic of cholera. In the month of June, 68 people died, including numerous children. While the town had suffered cholera outbreaks before, that year had the highest number of fatalities. The disease swept through the South from foreigners' arriving from Europe in New Orleansmarker, and contaminated travelers' carrying it with them by steamboat and rail. Nashvillemarker had 603 fatal cases from June 7-29, with 72 people dying the day of most fatalities.

Gradually through the 19th century the town and surroundings regained some steady growth. The area was primarily agricultural until mid-20th century. By 1970, industrialization resulted in only half of the county population being considered rural. In 1992, Gallatin was surpassed by Hendersonvillemarker as the largest town in the county, though Gallatin remains the county seat. Today it serves in part as a bedroom commuter suburb of Nashville.

On April 7, 2006, a tornado struck the city, killing nine people and injuring 150. Volunteer State Community College sustained major damage. This tornado was part of the April 6-8, 2006 Tornado Outbreak.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 22.5 square miles (58.2 km²), of which, 22.0 square miles (56.9 km²) of it is land and 0.5 square miles (1.3 km²) of it (2.18%) is water. Gallatin has variety of natural landscapes: open fields, forests, hills, and lakes. The city is located on Station Camp Creek, three miles (5 km) north of the Cumberland River, which was the chief route of transportation in the county's early years of settlement.

Old Hickory Lakemarker, a man-made lake, built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is located south of the city.


High temperatures average during the winter months, in spring, in summer, and in fall. The coolest month is January, and July is the warmest. The lowest recorded temperature was in 1985. The highest recorded temperature was in 2007. The maximum average precipitation occurs in March.


As of the census of 2000, there were 23,230 people, 8,963 households, and 6,193 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,057.3/sq mi (408.2/km²). There were 9,600 housing units at an average density of 436.9/sq mi (168.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 78.30% White, 17.57% African American, 0.30% Native American, 0.42% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 2.02% from other races, and 1.32% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.45% of the population.

There were 8,963 households out of which 32.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.0% were married couples living together, 16.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.9% were non-families. 26.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 2.99.

In the city, the population was spread out with 25.4% under the age of 18, 9.4% from 18 to 24, 29.6% from 25 to 44, 21.9% from 45 to 64, and 13.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 90.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $34,696, and the median income for a family was $41,899. Males had a median income of $30,620 versus $22,696 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,550. About 10.8% of families and 14.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.4% of those under age 18 and 13.3% of those age 65 or over.


As of May 2007, the unemployment rate in Sumner County was 3.8%, which is 0.7% below the national rate of 4.5%. The total number of workers in the county was 79,620.

The top four major employers in Gallatin, in order, are GAP, Inc., Sumner Regional Medical Center, Volunteer State Community College, and RR Donnelley. Gap employs 1,250 workers, making it the largest employer in the city. The Tennessee Valley Authority also operates a coal-fired power plant in Gallatin.

Arts and culture

Gallatin has a modern 10-screen theater, NCG Gallatin Cinema, and a completely restored single-screen theater, called The Palace, built in 1908. There is also a public city library.

Annual events include the Sumner County Fair, held during the last week of August, the Gallatin Christmas Parade, and a Fall Festival held on the square.

Museums and other points of interest

The Sumner County Museum in Gallatin houses a number of artifacts of historical significance to the city and the county.

The city has several architecturally significant buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. These homes, which have been restored and are open to the public, are Cragfont, Rosemontmarker, and Trousdale Place.

Parks and recreation


Gallatin has six parks that allow for various sports and activities, including: baseball, basketball, beach volleyball, disc golf, fishing, football, horseshoes, skateboarding, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, walking, and volleyball. These parks are:
  • Clearview Park
  • Lock 4 Park
  • Municipal Park
  • Rogers Field
  • Thompson Park
  • Triple Creek Park

Old Hickory Lake is also available for boating, fishing, swimming, and related activities.


Gallatin offers Cal Ripken & Babe Ruth baseball for ages 5–15 with the Kiwanis Club and Little League Baseball with the American Legion. Slow-pitch girls' softball leagues are also present. Basketball, football, tennis, and soccer leagues are also available for various ages.

The Gallatin Civic Center has a swimming pool, a running/walking track, racquetball courts, and basketball courts.

Gallatin is home to three golf courses:
  • Long Hollow Golf Club - a public, 18-hole course built in 1983
  • Gallatin Country Club - a private, 9-hole course built in 1948
  • The Club at Fairview - a private, 36-hole course built in 2004

Gallatin is home to one disc golf course:
  • Triple Creek Disc Golf Course - a public, 18-hole course

Triple Creek is maintained by the City of Gallatin with assistance from the Sumner County Disc Golf Association (SCDGA). The SCDGA holds several events at Triple Creek DGC a month including Wednesdays Random Draw Doubles and a SCDGA Bag Tag that rotates between Triple Creek DGC and Sanders Ferry Park DGC.


Gallatin City Hall

Gallatin has a Mayor-Council government . The City Council is made up of seven elected officials, from five council districts within the city limits, with two of the members being elected as Council At Large members. Of these seven council members, one is elected, by members of the council, as Vice-Mayor. Meetings are presided over by the Mayor, who is elected by citizens.

The City Recorder/City Judge is entrusted with two major functions: administering the city judicial system and maintaining vital city records, billing, and licensing services. These services include collecting city property taxes, ensuring liquor store compliance, and issuing taxi-cab and beer permits. City residents can pay utility bills, purchase city trash cans, apply for property tax rebates and city business licenses at the City Recorder/City Judge office.

The City Attorney oversees, prepares, reviews, and interprets ordinances, resolutions, and contracts; provides legal support to the Mayor, City Council, staff, boards, and committees; and manages litigation in which the City may be involved. Periodic updating of the Gallatin Municipal Code, published by the Municipal Code Corporation, is coordinated by the City Attorney. The Municipal Code includes the City Charter, as well as other City ordinances which are permanent.


Board of Education

Gallatin's schools are governed by the Sumner County Board of Education. The twelve-member group consists of eleven elected representatives from each of the eleven educational districts in the county, as well as the Director of Schools, Benny Bills. The members serve staggered four-year terms; the Director serves under contract with the Board of Education. The board conducts monthly meetings that are open to the public. The school system’s General Purpose School Fund budget during the 2006–07 school year was approximately $153.5 million.

The county-wide school system consists of approximately 1,950 teacher-licensed employees andapproximately 1,800 non-teacher employees. The system has more than 180 bus routes which cover more than per day. The floor space in all of the county's schools totals more than . Approximately 26,528 students were enrolled in the county school system as of August 2007.


Elementary schools (K–5)
  • Benny Bills Elementary School
  • Guild Elementary School (also pre-K)
  • Howard Elementary School (also pre-K)
  • Station Camp Elementary School (also pre-K)
  • Union Elementary School (year-round school)
  • Vena Stuart Elementary School

Middle schools (6–8)
  • Knox Doss Middle School
  • Rucker-Stewart Middle School
  • Shafer Middle School

High schools (9–12)

Alternative schools
  • R. T. Fischer Alternative School (K–12)

Private schools
  • Saint John Vianney Catholic Elementary School (pre-K–8)
  • Southside Christian School (K–12)
  • Sumner Academy (pre-K–8)




Two local newspapers cover events in Gallatin: The Gallatin News Examiner, published three times weekly, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with a supplement included with The Tennessean on Sunday, and The Gallatin Newspaper, published on Friday.


Gallatin received its first local radio station in August 1948 when WHINmarker 1010 AM, went on the air. Owned at one time by record mogul Randy Wood, the station still serves Sumner County with country music, local sports, and coverage of NASCAR racing. WHIN was joined by an FM station in December 1960 when 104.5 came on the air. The FM station has broadcast under many call letters, but probably its most famous days were in the late 1970s and 1980s when it was known as KX (pronounced Kicks) 104, a popular music station that battled with Nashville stations for top listenership. During that time the station was owned by Ron Bledsoe, who for years had commanded CBS Records in Nashville, and was a former employee of the station in his younger years. Currently the station is Citadel-owned sports radio station WGFX, which targets the Nashville market and is the flagship station for the Nashville Predators and Vanderbilt Commodores.

WMROmarker (1560) came to the air in 1994 to serve the community, and plays an automated Hot AC format, along with local religious programming on Sunday mornings.

Volunteer State Community College operates a radio and television station. The student-run radio station, WVCP, broadcasts on 88.5 MHz FM, and plays music of various formats. Their television station is broadcast on Comcast Cable channel 19. The channel displays local announcements related to the college and the Gallatin/Sumner County area. The audio portion of the channel is a simulcast of their radio station. The channel also airs educational programs, usually at high school or college levels. Gallatin City Council meetings, Sumner County School Board meetings, and Sumner County Commission meetings are also broadcast by the station.



Major roadways leading in and out of Gallatin include TN Tennessee State Route 386 "Vietnam Veterans Boulevard," U.S. Highway 31E, and Tennessee State Route 109. U.S. 31E, also known as "Nashville Pike" or "Gallatin Road," is the main thoroughfare through town.

The Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) provides daily bus service from Gallatin to downtown Nashville, with stops along the way.

The Sumner County Municipal Airport provides air transportation in and out of Gallatin. The facility is equipped with one runway with a 1,000 grass overrun. It also provides fueling and maintenance services."Airport FBO." Sumner County Municipal Airport. 26 September 2007. /

The Regional Transportation Authority has future plans to expand the current Music City Starmarker commuter railway to include a line running between Gallatin and Nashville, with a stop in Hendersonvillemarker.


Sumner Regional Medical Center
Sumner Regional Medical Center is a hospital located in Gallatin. It has an emergency room, a nationally recognized cancer-treatment program, a wound care center, a cardiac catheterization lab, and a diagnostic sleep center. The staff can also perform digital mammography, interventional cardiology, neurosurgery, computerized knee replacement surgery, and PET therapy, among other procedures.

The Gallatin Health Department, with two locations, provides women and children's services, flu shots, special needs services, testing for sexually transmitted diseases and tuberculosis, family planning, and immunizations. The department also inspects restaurants, hotels, campgrounds, day care centers, schools, and other public facilities where food is served, to ensure proper sanitation. Additionally, it is responsible for investigating animal bites, rabies, and other animal-related diseases.

A new, state-of-the-art multi-use medical building, called Sumner Station, is expected to be opened in January 2008. The complex will house a fitness and wellness center, primary and specialty medical offices, outpatient rehabilitation services, and an outpatient diagnostic center.

Notable natives and residents

  • William Read Scurry (1821–1864), General in the Confederate States Army in the American Civil War
  • Edgar Bright Wilson (born 1908), chemist whose work in microwave spectroscopy contributed to the understanding of the structure and dynamics of molecules
  • Johnny Maddox (born 1927), ragtime pianist
  • Huell Howser (born 1945), television personality
  • Ray Oldham (1951–2005), American football defensive back in the NFL



  1. John F. Baker, Jr., The Washingtons of Wessyngton Plantation: Stories of My Family's Journey to Freedom, New York: Atria Books, 2009, p.185
  2. Alice Williamson Diary, Duke University Special Collections Library, accessed 11 Oct 2007
  3. Durham, Walter T. Rebellion Revisited: A History of Sumner County, Tennessee from 1861 to 1870 (Franklin, TN: Hillsboro Press, 1999, 2nd edition)
  4. Durham, Walter T. Rebellion Revisited: A History of Sumner County, Tennessee from 1861 to 1870 (Franklin, TN: Hillsboro Press, 1999, 2nd edition)
  5. Gallatin Sexton Records for the Year 1873, accessed 13 May 2008
  6. J. C. Peters, M.D., "The South Western Cholera: 1873, The Sanitarian", Sept. 1873, National Institutes of Health exhibit, accessed 13 May 2008
  7. 26 September 2007.>.
  8. Sumner County Fact Book 2008–2009. The News Examiner & The Hendersonville Star News. 2008.
  9. "About Sumner County Schools." Sumner County Schools. Retrieved on 12 September 2008.

Further reading

  • Sumner County Fact Book 2007-2008. The News Examiner & The Hendersonville Star News. 2007.

External links

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