Bryce Gentry, owner and creator of the PK Lake Reporter, has graciously allowed me to share stories and quirky trivia about Possum Kingdom Lake. My collections of personal observations and research led me to publish Possum Kingdom Journals- Volumes I & II and the Guide to the Hiking and Biking Trails of the Carbonate Cross Timbers of Texas. The column will contain snippets of those stories based on fact, fiction, legends, and plain ol’ lies found in these books as well as other stories relating to the lake area.
Our first snippet is common knowledge to locals, but is a primer for visitors and newcomers. Here Goes – How did the lake get the name Possum Kingdom? A man named Ike Sablosky was a fur trader in the early 1900’s who got the best possum hides from trappers up on the Brazos River in northwest Palo Pinto County. He called the trappers the “Boys from Possum Kingdom.” President Franklin Roosevelt was said to be amused by the name and suddenly for some unknown reasons ordered the Treasury to allocate $4.5 Million in WPA funds to build the reservoir. Squabbling among state and federal agencies continued until agreements and funding were approved and construction of Morris Sheppard Dam began in 1938 and the gates were closed in 1941 creating Possum Kingdom Lake.