Secrets of the Lake: Old Woodville - - Texoma news, weather and sports

Secrets of the Lake: Old Woodville

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LAKE TEXOMA -- Beautiful Lake Texoma, built as a flood control lake in the late 1930s, it was once one of the largest man-made lakes in the United States.

The lake filled quickly one year after its construction and left once booming communities submerged under its waters, but with the exceptional drought taking its toll over 2011 the towns long forgotten are making themselves heard.

Lake levels are as low as they've been in over fifty years and towns like Woodville and Preston show eerie remains of what used to be, and to put into perspective how low the lake actually is, take a look at this storm cellar. Back in May, this storm cellar was almost completely submerged in water. Here we are about eight months later, and the water levels have retreated probably 70 or 80 yards behind me.

Local author, Willis McWilliam tells us  "In 1957 it got down to 597.99 that's 9 feet lower than it is right now."

Willis McWilliams has been a life long resident of Marshall County. His family resided in "Old Woodville" before the lake was built and was my guide to the legends that this lake likes to keep secret.

"The old railroad that came out of Madill, and came through Kingston, and went through "Old Woodville"and it crossed through at Platter, and it went down and crossed right below Colbert and turned South across the Red River and went to Denison.", says Willis.

The town of Woodville was named after Judge L. Lipscomb Wood, a prominent Chickasaw citizen. According to some sources Woodville was the first town in Indian Territory. Woodville was home to about 360 citizens when it was covered up.

Many buildings have surfaced over the dry conditions this year. Remains such as the old school building foundation to storm cellars from old homes can be seen as you walk along the beach.

Willis says "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."

Even though the waters from the muddy rivers silenced the towns that used to be, their legends live on and towns like Woodville, Oklahoma will always speak out when receding waters show us what used to be.

Thursday night we'll take you across the Red River and tell you stories of silenced towns on the Texas side and how German prisoners of war labor helped tame the waters of the mighty Red River.