Silver Lake

Built just prior to the Civil War, Silver Lake was an artificially created lake located just south of Tucson. Brothers Captain Alfred M. Rowlett and William M. Rowlett created the lake by building an earthen dam on the Santa Cruz River about 1½ miles south of Tucson.

Silver Lake served as a recreation area for swimming, boating, and bathing. The lake provided power for the Rowlett's flour mill, the first in the Tucson village area. The Silver Lake area was home to Tucson’s first roadhouse and nightclub. The lake resort became an attraction for gamblers, sports, and parties in the 1860s.

In the 1880s, the vegetation cover that helped control flooding from the Santa Cruz River grew thinner. As a result, flooding increased and the Silver Lake was torn away by floods in 1886 and 1890 and again at the start of the 20th Century. The lake soon dried up and the buildings were torn down


Raines, Elaine. “Tucson's Lake Resort.” Arizona Daily Star. May 17, 1953.

Leighton, David. "Silverlake’s namesake made a splash, powered flour mills, opens a new window." Arizona Daily Star. September 30, 2014. Page A11.

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