According to the welcome sign at the entrance, Silver Lake was first settled in 1882. David and James reside here. Apparently several women and children also lived there, as one was heard by Ellie saying that she would get the others to shelter. David appears to be the town's leader, although not all of them follow him completely.
The town is engulfed in a blizzard when Ellie arrives after her first escape from David (and later during Joel's rescue mission), making visibility and detection severely limited both for the player and hostile NPCs. Burning oil-drum fires and a ringing bell help with orientation for the player and as a guide to the next objective. Ellie is equipped only with her switchblade initially, so she must kill hostile NPCs to obtain a pistol and ammunition.
The town appears to not have much food, hence why the residents resorted to cannibalism. To house the corpses, the residents converted a butcher shop into a kitchen of sorts where the corpses are collected before they are prepared for food. Joel encounters several of these bodies in his search for Ellie. It is not known if all of the townspeople are aware of the cannibalism that David and James have set up, or whether it is just a system of control in a kill-or-be-killed world.
It is unknown to what extent The Infected are a problem for the town, as it is one of the maps in which no Infected appear. It seems that there is a safe zone set up where the women and children can move to in case of an incursion, but this is not expanded upon.
The fate of the town after Joel and Ellie passed through is unknown. Some cannibals, however, remarked that David's leadership was going to be put up to a vote again. It is entirely possible that they simply selected a new leader from the survivors of Joel's rampage.
The town has several comic and video game stores and even a garage which Joel crosses through. There was also a hidden room which housed several supplies which Joel found. He could only force it open with a shiv.
There is an intact restaurant in the town which is perfectly protected from the snow. David used the many broken plates around the floor during his fight with Ellie to hear her sneaking around. It was burned down in the winter of 2033, when David accidentally set it alight while trying to prevent Ellie from escaping.