Members Only Area
Bookmark and Share
sidebar menu icon


LELIA LAKE, TEXAS. Lelia Lake, on U.S. Highway 287 in central Donley County, was established in the late 1880s as a flag station on the Fort Worth and Denver City Railway. It was originally named Lelia after Lelia Payne, the sister-in-law of G. A. (Gyp) Brown, the town's founder and the first judge for Donley County. When the community's post office was established in December 1906, however, the word Lake was added to its name to distinguish it from Lela, Texas, in Wheeler County. The railroad section house and depot were the townsite's first buildings. In 1894 the first school was opened at the community. By 1915 Lelia Lake had several stores, two banks, two gins, a lumberyard, a barbershop, and a resident physician. In 1925 its population was estimated at 150. Two years later the estimate had risen to 300, and by 1929 it was 500. Four churches were established by 1930. The Great Depression closed the banks, however, and by 1933 the population had dropped to 150. Lelia Lake gained some publicity in 1940, when the family of D. E. Leathers, son of one of the town's pioneers, was selected as the Typical American Family by the Texas Chamber of Commerce in Fort Worth. The town has been noted for watermelon production and as a grain-shipping point. The population of Lelia Lake decreased from 500 in 1947 to 300 in 1950 and 125 in 1970. In 1984 the community had three businesses, a town hall, a gin, a church, and a post office. Through 2000 the community's population was still reported as 125.


Virginia Browder, Donley County: Land O' Promise (Wichita Falls, Texas: Nortex, 1975).

H. Allen Anderson

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to:

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


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

H. Allen Anderson, "LELIA LAKE, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed December 01, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Texas AlmanacFor more information about towns and counties including physical features, statistics, weather, maps and much more, visit the Town Database on!