Floyd and Fannie Salmon ("Sal-mon") of Grapeland could well fit the term "Jack-of-all-Trades." It all began as part of their dream of owning land with lots of trees and water. In 1960, they acquired fifty acres of completely desolate land which Floyd cleared and built himself, a lake for watering cattle. A few years later, with the help of Floyd's dad, Jake, the idea came to them to open their late to the public. They began transforming the land into a lovely, nostalgic park. The lake was cleared and made into a beautiful swimming lake with a sand bottom, plenty of sand beaches, piers and diving boards. Almost 300 camper hookups were installed. Floyd was able to move old buildings and mule-drawn equipment onto the land. Some of these buildings date back to the early 1900s. He and Fannie began renovating the buildings, being careful to keep the old style and character of each building intact. The buildings are now being used for cabins, reunion halls, old stores, and other places of business. Floyd then built a ten foot water wheel which would power a grist mill. Salmon Lake Park is truly a beautiful park for all to enjoy. Salmon Lake Park is also Home of The Annual Bluegrass Festival. The seed was planted for the future of bluegrass music at Salmon Lake Park when Earl Garner of Elkhart, Texas dropped by and suggested that the park would be a great place for a bluegrass festival. Earl is a well-known personality in bluegrass music throughout the country. Bluegrass music originated in the hills of Kentucky and Virginia and spread southwest to become one of the most popular forms of family entertainment. The instruments used a flat-top guitar, fiddle, mandolin, upright bass, dobro, and five-string banjo. There are no electrical instruments. Promoted by Joe Featherston and Floyd Salmon, the first bluegrass festival became a reality in 1976. Labor Day weekend was chosen for the annual event Friday evening marked the opening of the festival and Sunday morning was enhanced with worship services and bluegrass gospel music. These Labor Day weekend traditions are still in existence. Gradually, arts and crafts were added to accommodate the rapidly growing crowds. A variety of home-cooked foods and cold drinks are readily available. Also added is the Gospel Bluegrass Festival held every Memorial Day Weekend.
Crazy Horse Saloon
The Crazy Horse Saloon was the very first building to be moved into Salmon Lake by Floyd Salmon in 1976. Originally, it was a grocery store located in Mapleton, Texas. One day in 1976, Floyd received a phone call from the owner of the building, telling him that a truck had run into the building, knocking it off its blocks. They asked if he would like to have it, and of course he did! After moving it to the park, he made necessary repairs and remodeled it to resemble a Saloon. The four tables were made by Floyd Salmon, Jake Salmon, Tracy Salmon and Mike Cryer where the names of their families were carved along with the other characters you see on the table tops. The lady painted on the floor of the Saloon was a singer that Floyd Salmon once knew. The bar top was also painted by Floyd Salmon. He was truly a crafted artist! The Saloon is currently used as a reunion hall and seats around 55 people!
This building at the front of the park is hiding some interesting antiques. Enter in past the wooden cars and to the left and right you'll see some pretty cool stuff.
The syrup mill was originally part of the Ivey syrup mill from Grapeland, Texas. It operates with a 1- cylinder gasoline Fairbanks engine which dates back to 1917. The cane crusher dates back to 1897.
Floyd Salmon fired up the mill in 1988 and he and his friend, Willie C. Faulk, made syrup! The mill has not been in operation since. Check it out next time you come to Salmon Lake. It is located on the hill to the right of the stage.