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James P. Kaetz, Auburn University
Gu-Win is located largely in southwest Marion County with a small corner being located in northern Fayette County; Marion County is located in the northwest part of the state. Gu-Win has a mayor/city council form of government.
Gu-Win's unusual name is reportedly taken from a combination of two neighboring towns it lies between, Guin and Winfield. When first established, the community was known as Ear Gap and grew up along a railroad line. In the 1950s, citizens in nearby Guin sought to annex Ear Gap, but residents wanted to remain independent and decided to incorporate. Another source for the name origin comes from a theater located in the present-day town, the Gu-Win Drive-In Theater, which was owned by George Thornton. Thornton reportedly convinced locals to name the community Gu-Win after spending substantial money on a new marquee featuring the theater name. Thornton also was the first mayor of the town.
According to 2016 Census estimates, Gu-Win recorded a population of 142. One hundred percent of respondents identified themselves as white. The town's median household income was $41,563, and the per capita income was $24,666.
According to 2016 Census estimates, the workforce in Gu-Win was divided among the following industrial categories:
  • Educational services, and health care and social assistance (23.0 percent)
  • Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste management services (19.1 percent)
  • Manufacturing (18.0 percent)
  • Construction (11.5 percent)
  • Other services, except public administration (11.5 percent)
  • Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (9.8 percent)
  • Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services (6.6 percent)
  • Public administration (4.9 percent)
  • Wholesale trade (4.9 percent)
  • Retail trade (3.3 percent)
  • Transportation and warehousing and utilities (3.3 percent)
Students in Gu-Win attend Marion County schools; no public schools are located within the town limits.
U.S. Highway 43/ State Highway 118-171 bisects Gu-Win running northwest-southeast. The town lies just south of Interstate 22 that connects Memphis, Tennessee, and Birmingham, Jefferson County. The Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company operates a rail line through the town.
Events and Places of Interest
The Gu-Win Drive-In Theater remains in operation, but it is now called the Blue Moon Drive-In Theater. The Auburn University Upper Coastal Plain Agricultural Research Center is southeast of Gu-Win. Sugar Creek runs through the southern tip of Gu-Win and is a popular spot for kayaking and fishing.
Additional Resources
Marion County Heritage Book Committee. The Heritage of Marion County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 2000.
Published:  November 30, 2016   |   Last updated:  February 13, 2020