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Lake History

How the Lake Was Born

The City of Jacksonville began blocking up Gum Creek in February 1956. Buckner Dam that impounds Lake Jacksonville was completed in August of 1957.

The lake was originally intended as a water supply for the City of Jacksonville and little consideration was given to any leisure activity or residential development. Lease lots were selling for $200 to those who wanted a weekend get-away.

Over the past five decades, Lake Jacksonville has developed into a scenic and serene recreational and retirement area that is breathtakingly beautiful. A community of fine homes and recreational properties reside along the waterfront. The lake's offerings of pristine waters and wooded vistas has become a much-sought-after commodity - for those seeking a retirement haven to families escaping big city life to real estate investors. Water sports, swimming and fishing bring not only local residents, but those from distant areas to visit, camp and appreciate all the lake has to offer.

Today the character of Lake Jacksonville has changed dramatically. No longer just a water supply lake, the water-front lots are virtually sold out and the improvements now include many more full-time residences than weekend get-aways. The lake has also become a vacation destination with outstanding fishing and boating opportunities. The impact to the local economy of the 500 households at the lake is critical to many businesses in the community.

Although it has undergone some changes in the last 50 years, most residents believe Lake Jacksonville continues to be the best kept secret in East Texas.

The City of Jacksonville owns the land and leases are arranged for those who wish to build. At this time, there are over 500 building areas on lease from the city. Transfer of leases must be approved by the City Council. And Buckner Dam still affords a view of the main corridor of the lake.

Geographical Specs

Lake Jacksonville is in the Neches River basin one-half mile southwest of Jacksonville in Cherokee County (centered at a point 31°55' N, 95°18' W).

The lake's capacity is normally 30,500 acre-feet, and its surface area at 422 feet above sea level is 1,320 acres. In emergencies the reservoir can be expanded to 46,500 acre-feet with a surface area of 1,760 acres. The lake has a drainage area of forty-one square miles. The soil around Lake Jacksonville is a sandy loam over red clay, and the area is wooded with mixed hardwood and pine trees.

The highways to Lake Jacksonville are west side of lake, follow 79W to FM747. East side of lake, take College Avenue to concession area (about 3 miles). For other southeast areas, follow S. Bolton to FM 347 and then continue on FM2138.

Hitting the Half-Century Mark

During 2007 Lake Jacksonville celebrated its 50th year. A giant birthday card was displayed at the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce throughout 2007. Everyone in the Jacksonville community was invited to sign the card to commemorate the completion of Lake Jacksonville in 1957.

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