By GREG RUSSELL
Register Staff Writer
The turbulent history of Gainesville has been commemorated with a keepsake you can load and shoot, thanks to a limited-edition product now available from a Colorado arms maker.
The “Gainesville Heritage Rifle” is only 100 in number, said Anastasia Berumen, art manager of American Legacy Firearms of Fort Collins, Colo. Following a research and production process that began in spring, she said, American Legacy designers outfitted a Mossberg .30-30 caliber lever-action rifle with engravings that designate notable events from Gainesville’s past, such as Camp Howze, the Chisholm Trail cattle drive, the Great Hanging of Gainesville and the entry of the Santa Fe Railroad.
Gold plating and a glossed birch stock are among the rifle’s components, a piece only available online or by phone for $2,195.
Buyers also get an ornate carrying case of velvet interior, Berumen said — along with a highly novel way to tribute the city of Gainesville, Texas.
“We particularly love the smaller towns, mainly, because they’re surprising to us,” she said Thursday. “They have a lot of history and there’s a lot that’s behind being a small town.
“Don’t ever underestimate a small town.”
Ten of the Gainesville Heritage firearms have sold in the past two months, Berumen said Thursday. The rifle’s theme of town highlights is not unique to Gainesville; the company’s “Heritage” line currently includes engraved rifles tailored to more than 100 American cities.
In deciding what to use as imagery, her company acknowledged Gainesville’s rugged beginnings, focusing on the city’s “county seat” status and its past of Old West violence and 20th Century industrialization.
The Great Hanging of Gainesville, for example, seemed appropriate to include on the rifle, but designers sought to avoid crossing a line from historical to gratuitious.
“We don’t want to seem too morbid,” Berumen said Thursday.
A final design of the rifle’s engraved sections follows research about the rifle’s city of theme. And in Gainesville’s case, the American Legacy designers focused on events that factored into the city’s origins rather than ones more current.
“We try to be accurate as possible, and we do our research through library books, or online,” she said. “When all of that’s finished, it takes 12 to 16 weeks for production. But it’s well worth the wait.”
For more information about the Gainesville Heritage piece, visit www.americanlegacyfirearms.com or call 1-877-887-4867.