Willow Park is located north of Interstate 20 about eight miles east of Weatherford in eastern Parker County. Farmers first settled in the area in the 1850s, and in the late 1800s a rural community called Willow Springs developed with a church, school, and cemetery. The region continued to be rural during the first half of the twentieth century. About 1940, with the completion of U.S. Highway 80, crews constructed a scenic roadside park that included willow trees and a pond. After the completion of Lake Weatherford in 1957, more residents moved to the area development of El Chico Ranch Estates. In 1963 residents voted to incorporate under the name of Willow Park. They elected a mayor and town commissioners. In 1970 the population was 230. With the town's proximity to Fort Worth and the growth of lakeshore developments, Willow Park's population increased significantly to 1,113 residents in 1980. The community had a golf course, fire department, and several churches. Additional subdivisions, small businesses, larger chains, and professional offices, as well as a police department, were put into place during the 1980s, and the population grew to 2,328 in 1990. Since that time, city leaders have focused on commercial development along the Interstate 20 corridor and measures to meet the needs of that growth, such as the installation of a wastewater treatment plant. In 2000 Willow Park had 2,849 residents.