- Associated Press - Monday, August 4, 2014

LAKE ARROWHEAD, Texas (AP) - Few people today remember a time before Lake Arrowhead existed.

Fewer still may know that a town named Halsell has been lying underneath the lake’s waters for nearly 60 years.

Now that Arrowhead is less than a quarter full, Halsell has risen from the depths like a visible history lesson of the pioneer past.

People had been slowly moving into the area, about 20 miles southeast of Wichita Falls, since the 1860s.

Comanche and Kiowa Indians regularly raided in Clay County and the surrounding area until the establishment of the reservations in the 1870s in present-day Oklahoma.

Halsell was formally established in 1900 and named for local rancher Henry H. Halsell, according to the Clay County Historical Museum.

Halsell was from a wealthy ranching family and he built a general store, two Methodist churches, and financed houses for several former cowboys.

The town of Halsell also had a second general store, grocery, domino parlor, blacksmith and cotton gin.

In 1900, when the nearby town of Shilo lost its one-room schoolhouse to a windstorm, town leaders combined the two school zones and built a new schoolhouse in 1901.

In 1913, the school was revamping into a two-story, six-room school housing about 150 students and three teachers at its peak.

The Southwestern Railway Company established a railroad line connecting Henrietta with Archer City in 1910, and Halsell grew quickly. After a population high of about 600 residents in 1920, the bankruptcy of the SWC rail line spelled the beginning of the end for Halsell.

Oil was discovered in the area in the 1930s, but this had little effect on the town’s population.

Halsell retained about 36 residents until the 1960s when Lake Arrowhead was in planning stages.

In 1965, residents were forced to move as the land was taken by eminent domain to establish a new water supply for the booming area.

The remaining residents left and about 125 of Halsell’s deceased were moved from the cemetery to other gravesites throughout the county.

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