Southlake lies within the Eastern Cross Timbers, and it was the ecosystem’s dense forests and abundant game that drew Indians and Spanish explorers to this area. Despite modern-day suburban growth, remnants of the forest can still be found, including these oaks photographed in Bob Jones Park. <em>(Courtesy of Bob Koontz)</em> In 1841, a bankrupt Republic of Texas contracted with the Peters Colony to bring settlers to north-central Texas. Among them were a few dozen related families from Missouri. They founded Lonesome Dove Baptist Church in 1846 and built log houses like this one, re-created in Bicentennial Park. After the Civil War, many Southerners migrated to hardscrabble Texas looking for a fresh start. Bob Jones, born in 1850 to a white man and a slave, was brought here in the late 1850s as a child. Years later he and his wife, Almeady Chisum Jones, established a prosperous ranch and lived near present-day Bob Jones Park.  <em>(Courtesy of the Jones family)</em> “The area west of Grapevine” – now Southlake – included scattered farming communities, most with a church, a store and a school.  Although many families were poor, no one lacked for friendship.  Blacksmith John Graham, left, grew up in the Dove community.  The fiddler is unknown. <em>(Courtesy of the Shivers family)</em> The 1920s got off to a good start with the opening of Carroll School, but the Depression brought tough times. Bonnie and Clyde sometimes hung around; in 1934 they or a member of their gang killed two troopers on Texas 114.  Along Southlake Boulevard, folks frequented L.N. Bailey’s gas station. <em>(Courtesy of the Shivers family)</em> Well into the 1950s, some locals continued to make their living by growing and selling truck crops.  But changes, most notably the completion of Lake Grapevine in 1952, began an economic transformation that attracted newcomers.  Rumors of annexation by Hurst in 1956 rallied residents to incorporate as Southlake, population 200. With the completion of D/FW Airport in 1974, Southlake began to take off.  Families were attracted to the town’s rural life, excellent school district and competitive football team.  When a new high school was built at the corner of Dove Road and Carroll Avenue, it included a 3,500-seat stadium. The 1990s were a dynamic time for the growing city.  With city water and sewer in place, master-planned subdivisions, beginning with Timarron, changed the landscape.  Town Square, built to look like a turn-of-the-century downtown, opened in 1999.  Its centerpiece, Town Hall, was inspired by Texas’ historic courthouses. <em>(Courtesy of the City of Southlake)</em>





Bicentennial, Bob Jones, Rustin, Royal and Annie Smith, McPherson, Noble, Liberty at Sheltonwood -- do you know how these wonderful Southlake parks got their names?

Find out in a fun and entertaining historical society program 2-4 p.m., Sunday, May 4, at Liberty Park at Sheltonwood, 500 E. Dove Road.  Bring the family and enjoy free hot dogs. Everyone is welcome.


In May, take a photo at these parks with Bonnet, our blue dog mascot, and post them on our Facebook page. One winner will receive a picnic basket filled with goodies to enjoy at a favorite park.









 Pull up a chair and come on in!  Whether you are an old-timer or a newcomer, living in Southlake is a much richer experience when you know its history. From the pioneering Lonesome Dove Baptist Church (where do you think Larry McMurtry got the name?) to the mid-20th-century roots of our city to Dragon football tradition, there is much in Southlake for you and your family to learn about and be proud of.

 Start your journey by watching the Photo Slideshow and taking the Magical History Tour.  Explore the History of Southlake and the more than 300 photos in the Photo & Video Gallery

 In Buildings & Markers, learn about the 1919 Carroll School, where both Carroll ISD and the city of Southlake were born; Southlake’s log house, built of logs cut about the time Lincoln was president; and the 10 historical markers in town, including one that commemorates the two state troopers killed at Dove Road and Texas 114 by Bonnie and Clyde or a member of their gang.

 And while you’re at it – do you have a story to tell about your life, or your family’s, in Southlake? Click Tell Us Your Story and simply type in your remembrances. Also, let us know if you have photos of interest, and we can arrange to scan them.

 Email us at

 We’re glad you stopped by. As the pioneers said when offering hospitality: The latchstring is always out.

Connie Cooley, President, Southake Historical Society

P.S. If you are a Dragon football fan (and who isn't), you know the slogan Protect the Tradition.  Once you get to know Southlake's history and how it gives our city a deeply felt "sense of place," we hope you'll also cheer for our slogan, Preserve the Tradition.  

did you
  • Bonnie and Clyde
    Walnut Grove, Carroll ISD's newest elementary school, was named after the school Bob Jones, born a slave, built in about 1920 for his grandchildren because they could not attend all-white schools. It sat on what's now Bob Jones Road. A descendant of Bob Jones praised the new school as "a redemptive moment in public education."
  • Bonnie and Clyde
    Bad guys Bonnie and Clyde or a member of their gang gunned down two state troopers on Easter Sunday 1934 at Dove Road and 114. One trooper was engaged; his fiancée wore her wedding outfit to his funeral.
  • Lonesome Dove
    The captivating name Lonesome Dove originated nearly 150 years before Larry McMurtry wrote his book. It’s said the lonesome call of a dove reminded founders of Lonesome Dove Baptist Church of their own feelings of isolation.
  • This Place Matters
    For being the first Carroll School and the place where the city of Southlake was born, "This Place Matters." In front of the 1919 Carroll School are Connie Cooley and Anita Robeson of the SHS. "This Place Matters" spotlights places of significance to a community; see
  • Blossom
    Hi, I'm Bonnet, and I live at Southlake's log house. I’m on lots of the colorful signs out there, helping kids learn about pioneer life. I also chase rabbits and fetch sticks. Come see me. I'll be watchin' for you!
  • Jones Cafe
    What is thought to be the first integrated café in Texas was run by Eula Jones and Elnora Jones at their husbands' livestock sales barn from 1949 into the ‘70s. Black truckers and white ranchers and farmers sat side-by-side in the tiny cafe to eat chili, stew and red beans. The site is near White's Chapel Boulevard and Texas 114.
  • Dragons Football
    The thrilling history of Dragon football as told by Todd Dodge and Bob Ledbetter, with an assist from Dragon Council members Gene Stanford and Phil Barber, is on DVD at the Southlake Library. Included is footage of early Dragons in action.
  • Southlake Original Map
    Suzanne Eubanks liked to pick quirky names for pets, so her dad the mayor jokingly asked her what she would name the new town. How about a “geography name,” she said, like Westvine, Easler, Northeul, Southton or Southlake. Southlake was chosen over suggestions that included Blossom Prairie.
  • Southlake Water Tower
    The water tower at Dove Road and White’s Chapel in Southlake, constructed in 1986, was the first of its kind built in the U.S. The style, a steel tank supported by a concrete pedestal, became the prototype for about 80 percent of the large water-storage tanks built in the U.S.
  • Carroll Basketball
    In 1919, District No. 99 was given the name Carroll after B. Carroll, the county school superintendent. No. 98 had been named a year or two before for the previous superintendent, G.T. Bludworth. The Southlake Bludworth Dragons? We came close.
  • jack Cook
    Malinda Frost Dwight (later Hill) was at Parker’s Fort in 1836 when Cynthia Ann Parker was taken by Comanches. Malinda, 16, her husband, baby daughter, mother and others escaped; her father and brother were killed. Malinda died in 1870 and is buried at Lonesome Dove Cemetery. Jack Cook, her great-great grandson, is pictured next to her tombstone.


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