The community is named after Buffalo Lake, a now-vanished prairie wetland in southern Logan County on the upper reaches of the Lake Fork of Salt Creek.
Lake Fork is the name of a station on the Springfield branch of the Illinois Central railroad southwest of Mt. Pulaski and in Mt. Pulaski township. It was laid out by Daniel Handlin in 1881 and was surveyed by J. W. Ewing on Nov. 30th of that year. The original town contained four blocks to which additions aggregating eight blocks have been laid out by Elias Buckles and A. H. Billings. The town sustained a loss. by fire in 1886, when the general store of Rial Turner, with his stock of goods was consumed in January of that year.