Visitors passing through Lake Victor for the first time ask the same question: Where’s the lake?
Once a thriving community with a railroad station, a switchboard operator, cotton gins, a post office, and a general store, Lake Victor also had a lake.
Located 10 miles north of Burnet on FM 2340, Lake Victor has been without a notable body of water for almost a century now.
Engineer Victor Kellogg created the lake for water to run the steam engines on a rail line that connected Burnet to Lampasas. The railroad was completed in the 1890s and ran for about 30 years. The tracks were taken up in the 1950s.
A sixth-generation rancher in Burnet County, Andy Feild and his family own land less than 2 miles from Lake Victor. He recalls seeing a photo of a couple on a rowboat enjoying the lake.
“I was a kid between six to ten years old,” he said. “I’d ride a horse, and we’d explore around Lake Victor. I recall water in that lake.”
Lake Victor saw the last of its glory days by the mid-1920s when the trains stopped, said Billie Buck, whose family also owns property in the community. Buck writes about and presents oral histories of the town’s glory years. By the end of the 1930s, only 15 homes remained around three churches along with Jess Bland’s service station, a red brick schoolhouse, and the Masonic Lodge, which is still active today.
Both Buck and Feild have wonderful memories of Lake Victor, noting that you couldn’t make a phone call to a neighbor without first telling the switchboard operator what was happening in your own home.
An excerpt Buck found in a college paper written in 1924 describes Lake Victor as a pretty lake that “has been neglected and allowed to fill up until it now must release all claim to that watery title.”
Though the lake is no more, the town of Lake Victor intends to hold onto its heritage, history, and name.