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More Than A Sleepy Lake Town

Article by Nathan Knottingham

Photography by Nathan Knottingham

Originally published in Texoma City Lifestyle

Pottsboro, a town started by ranchers and surrounded by ranches, may not be well-known unless you have a reason to drive through it. However, as Grayson County continues to grow and change, this is likely to change too. Despite these changes, one thing remains consistent about Pottsboro - community is key and greatly cherished.

If you’ve watched any of the new Western TV shows inspired by Yellowstone's success, you might have come across 1883 and Lawmen: Bass Reeves. Both of these shows have stories connected to the Pottsboro area and the cattle drives that went through. While these are small moments in the docuseries, they are historically relevant to what the area was like when it began. Pottsboro (originally Pottsborough) was founded by combining land from two landowners: Judge James G. Thompson and Mr. James Archer Potts, who both owned large ranches at the site of the future town. To influence the continuation of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, James A. Potts donated land for a town and a right-of-way so the MKT Railroad would extend tracks westward from Denison to his settlement. This act set the tone for Pottsboro to be, and continue to serve as, an agricultural provider for the surrounding area (Bauman, Natalie Clountz. 2014. Pottsboro Texas and Lake Texoma Then ... and Now).

However, as is often the case, progress brings change. Lake Texoma was constructed during World War II, though funding was approved and authorized through the Flood Control Act of 1938 (Public Law No. 761, 75th Congress, 3rd Session). The construction of the Denison Dam, the hydroelectric turbines, and the flood control system set the stage for a new purpose for Pottsboro. The town was ready to welcome many visitors as Lake Texoma grew in popularity.

Today, Pottsboro has a unique blend of small-town charm and a transformative spirit of growth as the area expands. Some of the greatest attractions include world-class Striper Bass fishing at Lake Texoma, the Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge, and the proximity to the North Texas Regional Airport. The airport is historically intriguing and is setting a strong pace for future development with transportation at its core. All of these factors bring purpose and accessibility to Pottsboro.

Despite the growth around Pottsboro, you’d be missing out if you just drove through the town to your next destination. Pottsboro hosts amazing locally-owned businesses that offer great hospitality. Places like Zellie Blue Boutique, Buxton Nook, which focuses on local artisans, and Sugar & Spice Cafe are all worth visiting - and there are so many more fantastic spots in Pottsboro.  Make sure to pick up a Pottsboro Area Chamber of Commerce directory when you make it to town to discover more.

One of the greatest things about Pottsboro is its community spirit. Local associations and groups take pride in the town and do great things. You’re likely to find a parade during national holidays, events hosted by service leagues, and parties at the lake throughout the summer. One of the best places to track all the activities in and around Pottsboro is the Pottsboro Area Chamber of Commerce [Pottsboro Area Chamber of Commerce]( The Executive Director, Missy Weaver, is up-to-date on local happenings. 

Lainie Ramsey grew up in Pottsboro and returned to establish her business (Home by Lainie Real Estate Group) and invest in her town. She recently shared that “Pottsboro is a wonderful community to call home. With small-town charm, close-knit residents, and an excellent school system, there’s no place I’d rather be. It's somewhat removed from the hustle and bustle of neighboring towns, yet close enough to enjoy their amenities and the expansive lake in our backyard. Our community events, like Frontier Day and the Boot Scootin' Ball, bring friends and neighbors together to support local businesses or raise funds for emergency services. Whether you’ve lived here all your life or just moved in, you’ll find it easy to get to know your neighbors.”

By the numbers, Pottsboro isn’t going to win awards for the fastest-growing, wealthiest, or biggest industrial development. And, I think I can safely say that we’re okay with that.  When the local Facebook group was surveyed, the comments that stood out the most were that Pottsboro is a small community with big hearts, genuine with each other, and ready to welcome anyone who decides to visit, stay for the summer, or even make Pottsboro their new home.  So find Pottsboro on your map and swing by for a visit anytime, where there's always a seat open at our table for you.