Four Ghost Towns Under Lake Texoma

Lake Texoma is only a couple feet below normal water levels after the hot, dry summer of 2012. But in 2011 the water levels were much lower, and some American history became exposed after many, many years. Under normal conditions there are 550 miles of shoreline on Lake Texoma, with the Red River arm (45 miles long) in Texas and the Washita arm (30 miles long) in Oklahoma, all of which covers 93,080 acres impounded by Denison Dam.

In 1944 when Lake Texoma began filling up, it changed the landscape considerably, both in Oklahoma and in Texas. It forced relocation of railroads, highways, utilities, and cemeteries. A few towns, however, gave up their identities forever as lake waters submerged their boundaries and wiped them off the map. Preston, Texas, also known as Preston Bend was a prominent town located on the Red River in North Texas, ideally located and used as the Red River crossing of the Butterfield Stage Lines and the Shawnee cattle trail.

The little town prospered in the 1800s due to its strategic location for military and trade roads. Like so many other towns around the country, Preston suffered economically when the Missouri, Kansas & Texas railroad passed by to the east of town, cutting off business from travelers and cattle drives. The former town site is near Pottsboro. Hagerman, Texas was located on a spur off FM 1417 about eight miles NW of Sherman. Originally called Steedman after S. D. Steedman, a respected county judge, it swelled in population from the 1870s, and then it changed names when the railroad came through in 1909.

James Hagerman was a railroad attorney at that time. Hagerman's population was reported as 150 in the 1930s and 1940s until it became submerged in 1944, but Hagerman still showed up on a 1970 county highway map. Cedar Mills, Texas was located twenty-four miles NW of Sherman, and it, too, saw settlers arrive in the 1870s. Grain and lumber mills were built in the thick groves of cedar trees along the Red River, inspiring the name of the town and attracting commerce from farmers and lumbermen.

A hotel and racetrack were built to accommodate all the local visitors when, by 1884 the population grew to 500. Sadly, the railroad bypassed the thriving town of Cedar Mills as well, and there were only 50 residents reported in the 1930s, a few years before the whole place was flooded by Lake Texoma. Drought brought many grave stones out of the water and into the open in the summer of 2011 when lakes all over the state of Texas had water levels drop to unprecedented lows.

Woodville, Okalahoma was named after Judge L. Lipscomb Wood, a prominent Chickasaw citizen at the time and a fitting tribute to what some have called the first town in Indian Territory. It was reported to have had 360 residents in 1944 when it sank into an underwater ghost town.

Last summer a former Woodville resident is reported as sharing,

"Bonnie and Clyde used to come to old Woodville to the chicken fights and they camped right over here in this area what's known as Washita Point. One time for about three weeks they stayed in that area but then they cleared on out without causing any kind of a problem here."

Please post your own stories of these ghost towns and any others submerged under Lake Texoma now.

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Lake Texoma Current Weather Alerts

There are no active watches, warnings or advisories.


Lake Texoma Weather Forecast


Rain Showers

Hi: 78

Tuesday Night

Rain Showers Likely

Lo: 69


Rain Showers Likely

Hi: 78

Wednesday Night

Chance Thunderstorms

Lo: 68


Chance Thunderstorms

Hi: 80

Thursday Night

Thunderstorms Likely

Lo: 69


Chance Thunderstorms

Hi: 80

Friday Night

Chance Thunderstorms

Lo: 68

Lake Texoma Water Level (last 30 days)

Water Level on 5/28: 619.34 (+2.34)

Lake Texoma

Fishing Report from TPWD (May 22)

GOOD. Water normal stain; 67 degrees; 2.82 feet above pool. Striped bass fishing is excellent on live shad and topwaters. Anchoring on deep river ledges and flats in 60-80 feet of water fishing suspended around 40 feet catching quality and quantity on live shad. Top waters early along rocky banks where shad are still spawning. Catfishing is good using cut shad and prepared baits along the rocks in 20-40 feet of water. Free line dead shad or fish vertically along the rocks. Bass are fair using top waters early along the bluffs and on long points. Water temps in the mid 70s look for fish under docks and tires near marinas. Clear water is along the southern end of the lake. Crappie are fair using jigs fishing structure using electronics to locate active fish in 12-18 feet of water. Clear water is from TI point to the Dam and in the little mineral arm of the lake. Report by Jacob Orr, Guaranteed Guide Service Lake Texoma. Stripers are good, catching the better fish starting with topwaters early, then switching to swim baits in 10-20 feet of water to get smaller fish. Water is starting to clear up from the recent rains on most of the lake. The lake has dropped 3 feet over the last week, and should return to normal, if it does not rain too much later this week. Report by John Blasingame, Adventure Texoma Outdoors.

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