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Lake Tyler

Seth D. Breeding General Entry

Lake Tyler, named for the nearby town, is on Prairie Creek in the Neches River basin twelve miles southeast of Tyler in eastern Smith County. The northern section of the lake is crossed by the State Highway 64 bridge. The project is owned and operated by the city of Tyler as a water supply for municipal, domestic, and industrial use. Construction of the original Whitehouse Dam project, designed by engineer T. C. Forrest, began on April 30, 1948. The first water was impounded on January 12, 1949, and Carruth Construction Company completed the structure on May 13, 1949. The lake has a capacity of 43,400 acre-feet and a surface area of 2,450 acres at the spillway crest level of 375½ feet above mean sea level. The earthfill dam is 4,708 feet long and fifty feet wide. The drainage area above the dam is forty-five square miles. On February 11, 1966, construction of the Mud Creek Dam project, designed by Wisenbaker, Fix, and Associates, began on Mud Creek just west of Lake Tyler. Nine months later, the first water was impounded, and Vilbig Construction Company completed the structure in January 1967. This lake, then called Lake Tyler East, has a surface area of 2,530 acres at the spillway crest level of 375.4 feet above mean sea level. The earthfill dam is fifty feet high and 4,700 feet long. The drainage area above it is sixty-two square miles. On May 29, 1968, the two lakes were joined by a small canal; the combined lakes were designated Lake Tyler. The canal, northwest of the Mud Creek Dam and northeast of the Whitehouse Dam, is less than a mile long. In the early 1980s there were several recreational areas and parks near the lake, including Camp Tyler, Green Acres, and Hill Creek, Concession, and Sandy Beach parks. The two bodies of water are sometimes identified on maps as Lake Tyler East and Lake Tyler West.

Carlton Bailes and Danny L. Hudson, A Guide to Texas Lakes, Including the Brazos, Colorado, Frio and Guadalupe Rivers (Houston: Pacesetter Press, 1982). Texas Water Development Board, Texas Water Development Board and Water for Texans (Austin, 1974).

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Seth D. Breeding, “Lake Tyler,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 11, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

February 1, 1995