The Texas Hill Country
My mother remembers Lake Victor as "a good place to grow up". She tells great stories about her town, and its people. Some of her stories are sad, most are funny, but because she made these people live for me I feel as if I know them as I do my own family.
Lake Victor in not an early Texas town. It sprung up overnight almost, at the turn of the century, and my mother wasn't born there, but moved there at the age of ten years. She began third grade in the first year of the new brick school building built in 1926. She graduated there in the class of 1936. She was Valedictorian, however, because of a mistake in totaling the grades that was discovered just the day of the ceremony, she gave the Salutatorian speech that she had already prepared.
In 1901 the Southern Pacific Railroad, known then as the Houston and Texas Central, began construction of a depot and shipping station midway between Burnet and Lampasas, a distance of some twenty four miles. The railroad at this point ran within a hundred yards of the foot of a slightly elevated plateau. Here were stationed the workmen under a foreman named Victor Kellogg.
An artificial lake was formed by removal of dirt for use on the railroad. The lake held no water except in extremely wet seasons. However, it was to give the new community its name. The village was named by Miss Ophelia Gilmore in honor of the foreman, Victor Kellogg.
With the coming of the railroad and its completion in 1902, citizens of the surrounding area saw the possibility of business enterprises, and within a few months began to build business buildings and homes.
Colonel Frank A. Ramsey was the first depot agent, and when the first post office was established he was appointed the first Post Master. He served as both Agent and Post Master until 1905 when C.P. Warner took over as Depot Agent, serving until the railroad discontinued that office in 1930.
The first business to open was a general store owned and operated by Zachary Daniel and Son, established in 1902 on the east side of the railroad track. The store was bought in 1905 by L. Warner and Son, and a few years later moved across the railroad track to the west side,
Arch Boyce was the towns first barber, and he operated a barber shop next door to the Warner store for a number of years.
Three churches were established in Lake Victor, the Methodist in 1905, Baptist in 1912, and the Church of Christ in 1915.
The community had three school buildings: the first one was bought by the Church of Christ when it organized and remains at the same location today; the second school was built on a hill about one-half mile east of the railroad on land given to the school by W.A. Farris; and the third building was a brick structure erected in the summer of 1926.
South end of Lake Victor in the early days.
I would say if it was progress, with the coming of the
railroad that gave life to Lake Victor, it was the progress of
highway transport that caused its demise. By-passed by Highway
281 by three miles, Lake Victor, once almost a metropolis is now
only a few resident homes, and two churches that still serve the
area. Where once was the Methodist Church now houses the
Community Center, and every year on the second weekend in August
the homecoming is well attended by those that grew up around Lake
Victor, and their descendants.
Some of the early families of Lake Victor and the surrounding area were:
Adams Alexander Barrett Berry Blake Bland Bowden Brown Cowan Cox Dodd Ellebracht Evans Farris Farquhar Field Frazier Garrett Geren Gilmore Glimp Greer Hahn Hicks Hodge Hutto Jenkins Jones Kenan Mallett McCoy McGehee Minton O'Hair Parker Riggs Risinger Rutledge Schooley Shelburn Shelby Spradling Standifer Stanford Stinnett Sutherland Tooke Traweek Tumlinson Warden Warner Warren Watkins Webb Willy Wood Wooten Wyatt Yeary Young
Notes and Sources:
Photos and information on Lake Victor taken from "The Lake Victor Story" by M.C. Shelby.©1971
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