See biographies by R. Walters, Jr. (1957, repr. 1969), and F. E. Ewing (1959).
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.
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 Chattanooga.
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 Orleans, and contaminated travelers' carrying it with them by steamboat and rail. Nashville 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 Hendersonville 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.
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.
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.
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.
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, Rose Mont, and Trousdale Place.
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.
Gallatin is home to three golf courses:
Gallatin is home to one disc golf 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.
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.
The county-wide school system consists of approximately 1,950 teacher-licensed employees and approximately 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 . Approximatly 26,528 students were enrolled in the county school system as of August 2007.
Middle schools (6–8)
High schools (9–12)
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.
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.
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.