The Sugar Industry, which began in Texas before the Civil War (1861-65), was revived in the late 1800s by cheaper refining methods. One of the leading sugar producers in Colorado County was William Dunovant. In 1898 he and several men from Eagle Lake built the Cane Belt Railroad to take cane to the mill. Later extended, the profitable rail line was purchased by the Santa Fe Railroad in 1902.
The success of the railroad encouraged Dunovant to build a refining plant for this area. Lakeside sugar refinery, erected at this site about 1902, processed up to 1,000 tons of cane each day and produced 5,000,000 pounds of refined sugar each year. A train called the "Whangdoodle" carried cane from nearby fields to the refinery. By 1910 Lakeside Mill was one of the largest in Texas, with about 100 employees. It stimulated the local economy and attracted able businessmen, such as Rudolph Wintermann and son Oscar J. Wintermann.
After its best season in 1908-09, the sugar industry declined. A state law forbidding use of convict labor raised production costs. A tropical storm damaged the refinery, and an early freeze destroyed much of the sugar crop. Sold in 1913, the Lakeside Refinery was dismantled in 1918 and rebuilt in Jamaica.