When I first came to Sherman, I heard a rumor of a lake. From what I understood it was in the middle of downtown and the hub of society. However, finding no evidence that such a lake existed, I surrendered the idea to nostalgic nonsense.

When I first came to Sherman, I heard a rumor of a lake. From what I understood it was in the middle of downtown and the hub of society. However, finding no evidence that such a lake existed, I surrendered the idea to nostalgic nonsense.


Recently however, I became interested in something much more concrete: the Sherman-Denison Electric Interurban Railway, owned by the Texas Electric Co. Texas Electric bought the existing trolley line and the owner, J.P. Crear, decided to make it an electric rail line. It was an industry of transportation growing fast to meet the demands of urban travel where steam engine could not. In order to make the electricity he needed, he dammed a local, fresh water spring to create Woodlake.


It was then I realized that this was the famed lake I had fantasized about for so many years.


It was the event for this town’s summer nights. The memories are largely about fried chicken and family picnics. The resort equipped the lake with boats and boat races; a wooden-floored pool called the "pigpen"— supposedly the fanciest pool in Texas; a zoo, of all things; a stately casino; an open-air dance floor; and a penny arcade, among other things, filled the 40-acre resort.


It was an escape to nature, replete with man-made amusements and popular arts like vaudeville, minstrels, high school productions and local performances. Accounts of the place can be found in oral tapes at the Sherman Public Library. I read about it in Gene Lenore’s article in Texoma Living!


With the invention of the radio and the accumulation of private cars, Woodlake and the Interurban Railway eroded. Now it is privately owned and nary a word is spoken on community involvement. The buildings may remain in ruins, but mostly secrecy pervades the place.


In town banter it is an urban legend, and in reality it is a private property. It’s a pity such wonders had to deteriorate. I imagine that such a community center transformed strangers into neighbors. I also imagine that it provided the greatest joy in life — spending time enjoying yourself in the midst of fine company. I wouldn’t mind the 100-degree weather if I had the chance to bathe in a cool lake with wildflowers blooming around me.


Happy birthday Monday to Rodney Williams of McKinney; Brooksie Patterson of Denison; Brady Clark and Joel S.T. Kelly, both of Sherman; Michael Claud Robbins of Collinsville; Garry Neal of Bells.


Happy anniversary Monday to Jim Bob and Muriel Jean Ferguson of Whitesboro, 58 years; Wayne and Lisa Melvin of Denison, 30 years.