Taken from Van Zandt County Texas Biographies 1848-1991 Vol. II. Thanks to Kitty Wheeler for the original information and for permission to use it on the web site. The information that is included in this document is transcribed portions of information that appear in the above referenced book. Additions, corrections, comments, complaints and compliments concerning this page should be submitted to Betty Miller and Patsy Vinson.
In 1873, the Texas and Pacific Railroad was completed between Marshall and Dallas. Silver Lake was named by railroad men for the silvery appearance of the small lake in the Saline Creek bottom.
The railroad company executives developed this small village six miles east of Grand Saline. They located the major plats near Crockett's Bluff Ferry at a 350 foot elevation, constructed a station, and laid .1555 miles of side tracks. On 7 May 1874, the Texas and Pacific Chief Engineer, Granville M. Dodge purchased a portion of the surveyed area, but failed to file a plat until 5 Mar 1875. Within a year, officials erected a water station supplementing the 24,000 gallon wooden tank previously built on the Sabine.
In 1873, George W. Rice, one of the postmasters, established a store at the railroad stop. Through the years several businesses have operated in Silver Lake. There was also a church and the Silver Lake School was located about a mile southwest on the Canton-Crockett's Bluff road (Fm. Rd. 1255).
During the summer of 1874 a Silver Lake Citizen discovered coal in Van Zandt County. While digging a well along the railroad near Silver Lake, he uncovered a five-foot thick layer of slate. After further excavation he unearthed a vein of "very superior quality coal." Within two days speculators purchased the surrounding 6,000 acres.
In april 1901, George W. rice contracted wity Byron Alexander of Grand Saline to erect a brick business house on Silver Lake. No doubt at one time the citizens of Silver Lake were looking forward to the successful development of their city.
Dr. William Alexander Allen served the people in a wide area around silver lake for many years. He was born in Monroe Co., Mississippi, 25 Dec 1842, but moved with his father to Texas in April 1852. Recalling old settlers in the community he named in 1904 the following: John Chrestman, C. Padgett, Jim Hutton, Wm. Tankersley, and Joe Cox.
In 1867,he began the practice of medicine. This after serving in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. he studied medicine under private tutorship and later took lectures in four different schools. He acquired as much as 500 acres of land around his home and had bermuda grass, stock, fruit and other farming activities carried out on his farm. His home was two and a half miles from Silver Lake, on the T. and P. Railway.
Travel was extremely hard in the earlier days. Especially during the rainy season when it was almost impossible. for this reason, one can be certain the residents of Silver Lake were greatly pleased when finally in 1932, Highway 15 (now Hwy. 80) was completed with concrete pavement reaching from the Smith Co. line to the Kaufman Co. line.
There are a few businesses in the Silver Lake area now, but the city as it once was is no more.