Saturday, September 23, 2023

Preserving the History of Early Southlake

A group effort by the Southlake Parks and Recreation Department, Southlake Historical Society and Lonesome Dove Baptist Church, is credited with helping to save and relocate the Dove Community historical marker in an effort to protect it from further vandalism.

In March 2017, after being damaged twice, the Dove Community historical marker, previously located at the intersection of Dove and Lonesome Dove Road, was replaced and relocated to the property of Lonesome Dove Baptist Church at 2380 Lonesome Dove Road.  

The Southlake Historical Society and the Texas Historical Commission worked together to have the marker installed at the church and cemetery property, where it is less susceptible to damage and is easier for the public to visit.

The history of the marker tells quite a story. In 1843, Bird’s Fort Treaty, between the Republic of Texas and several Native American tribes, opened this area for new immigrants. About 35 families arrived over the next few years to claim land. They settled along Denton Creek south near present-day Grapevine and west near what is now Roanoke.

According to the Southlake Historical Society, in February of 1846, residents organized the Lonesome Dove Baptist Church. In 1847, members built a log structure about four miles northwest of Grapevine in the Eastern Cross Timbers area, an area that would later be known as the Dove Community.

In 1849, the state legislature created Tarrant County and the U.S. Army established Fort Worth as a frontier fort. The small village of Dove Community developed by the 1870s with a general store and post office at the intersection of Dove and Lonesome Dove Roads, the Lonesome Dove Cemetery north of the church, the Dove Branch swimming hole, and the Dove School. The area continued to grow and the community became a farming center for cotton, melon and dairy production.

Lake Grapevine was eventually completed by the federal government in 1952 requiring a number of families to relocate from the northern portion of the Dove Community. In 1979, the City of Southlake annexed Dove, but evidence of the early community remains.

For more information about the history of Southlake, check out the Southlake Historical Society.

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