sidebar menu icon


WOODLAKE, TEXAS (Grayson County). Woodlake is midway between Sherman and Denison in central Grayson County, secluded in a heavily wooded site once known as Tanyard Springs. In 1901 local businessman J. P. Crearer needed a promotional gimmick to attract passengers to his recently completed ten-mile-long electric interurban rail line connecting the two north central Texas towns. Therefore, in an area where natural springs form a small lake, he built a resort and recreational park. Over the next two decades Woodlake flourished as a popular summer retreat for tourists throughout north central Texas and southern Oklahoma. Among the attractions and activities were boating, swimming, fishing, picnic grounds, a zoo, various carnival rides, a flume, and a baseball diamond. The park also offered a palatial Victorian casino, an open-air dance pavilion, and a penny arcade that was sometimes used for roller skating. In 1908 officials of the Texas Traction Company purchased the park, including the lake, surrounding acreage, and buildings. A decade later financial pressures prompted the sale of the Woodlake operation to the Texas Electric Railway Company. After World War I, however, the fortunes of the park declined as a result of a series of fatal traction car accidents and the rising popularity of the automobile. Just as Woodlake's beginning was linked to the interurban, so too was its demise, as each summer fewer and fewer patrons visited the park. By 1929 the grounds were unkept, and the buildings had fallen into disrepair. Railway officials closed the park. Soon thereafter a group of local investors purchased the property for private use. Until 1954 the North Texas Baptist Encampment used the lake property and facilities for summer youth retreats and outdoor revivals. In 1985 the lake, still overgrown with weeds and thickets, remained a secluded hideaway for family weekend gatherings.

Michael Collins, A Paradise Lost: The Story of Woodlake (Sherman, Texas: Southwestern Library Association, 1981). Denison Herald, May 20, 1979. Graham Landrum and Allen Smith, Grayson County (Fort Worth, 1960; 2d ed., Fort Worth: Historical Publishers, 1967).
Michael B. Collins

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to:

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Michael B. Collins, "Woodlake, TX (Grayson County)," accessed December 11, 2017,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Texas AlmanacFor more information about towns and counties including physical features, statistics, weather, maps and much more, visit the Town Database on!