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About Martin Creek Lake State Park
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History of Martin Creek Lake State Park
Martin Creek Lake State Park, which consists of 286.9 acres, is located in Rusk County, southeast of Longview. It was deeded to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department by the Texas Utilities Generating Company on June 23, 1976, and was opened to the public the same year. The park is located on 5,000-acre Martin Creek Lake, constructed to provide cooling water for a lignite-fired, electric power generation plant.
The park and surrounding area have been inhabited by people since 200 B.C. Until the 18th century, Caddoan Indians and Spanish explorers lived in and traveled through this area. Later the Choctaw, Cherokee and Kickapoo Indians migrated here in response to the increasing influx of Anglo Americans. Visitors can still see the old roadbed of Trammel's Trace near the fishing pier. It was an Indian trail that became a major route for settlers moving to Texas from Arkansas. In 1833, Daniel Martin, for whom the park is named, settled with his family near the creek called Hogan's Bayou at the time. He and his neighbors eventually built a small fort and then a town called Harmony Hill. It reached its heyday after the Civil War, but it was deserted by 1900 and was struck by a tornado in 1906. Only one Civil War-era building remains today, and it has been converted into a storage shed. Traces of the old roads that brought prosperity to Harmony Hill can still be seen in the park and are part of the hiking trail.