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Donley  County
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LELIA LAKE , TEXAS

Donley County, Texas Panhandle

34° 54' 4" N, 100° 46' 14" W (34.901111, -100.770556)
Highway 287
7 miles SE of Clarendon
NW of Memphis

58 miles E of Amarillo
Population: 71 est. (2017) 125 (2000)

Lelia Lake Area Hotels > Clarendon Hotels

Lelia Lake school
Lelia Lake School
Photo Courtesy Erik Whetstone, December 2003
More Texas Schoolhouses

History in a Pecan Shell

G. A. (Gyp) Brown is regarded as Leila Lake’s founder. Brown also became Donley County’s first judge. The town was named after Brown’s sister-in-law, Leila Payne.

It began life in the late 1880s along the Fort Worth and Denver City Railway. The depot was one of the first buildings. A post office was granted in 1906 but since the post office already had a Lela, Texas recorded on its books, they hurriedly added Lake to Leila to avoid confusion and (especially) misdirected mail.

The town had its first school in 1896 and by 1915 the community had most essential businesses as well as its own doctor. By the mid 1920s there were 150 residents, doubling before the end of that decade.

By 1933 it was back to 150. Recovery was slow but shortly after WWII the population had reached 500. The 1950 census showed a decline to just 300 and by 1970 there were only 125 Lelia Lakers. The same number was used for the year 2000.

Lelia Lake TX Donley County 1958 Postmark

Lelia Lake TX Donley County 1958 Postmark

Cover cancelled with Lelia Lake, TX 1958 postmark
Courtesy The John J. Germann Collection
TX Donley  County 1920s Map
Donley County 1920s map showing Lelia Lake, 7 miles SE of Clarendon
From 1920 Texas state map #10749

Courtesy Texas General Land Office
Lelia Lake, Texas Area Towns:
Clarendon | Memphis
See Donley County | Texas Panhandle

Related Topic: Texas Railroads

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