“Million memories” created at Crystal Lake in Shelby County, Texas

Crystal Lake, in Joaquin, Texas
Crystal Lake, in Joaquin, Texas

While dining a few months ago at a Logansport, Louisiana restaurant, I noticed a photograph mounted under the glass of one of the tables.  The vintage photograph (sixties or seventies, based on the “look” of the photo) depicted dozens of people having a whale of a time at a lake.

The lake, I learned, was named “Crystal” and it had quite a story behind it.

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Miller Store of Toro Community: If these walls could talk

Old country stores often have this way of making me stop in my tracks… Just something about them calls to me… “Shannon… Stop, come take a picture.”  So perhaps that sounds a bit crazy, however…

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Releases cease from Toledo Bend: What a difference a month makes

January 2016 and February 2016 below the Toledo Bend Spillway
January 2016 and February 2016 below the Toledo Bend Spillway

January 2016- All working gates at the Toledo Bend Dam spillway were open at least one foot each (9 gates), emptying water from Toledo Bend into Bayou Toro and eventually downtstream into the Sabine River.  Water was being released twenty four-seven to cope with flooding on the upper end of the Sabine River which resulted in high levels on Toledo Bend Lake.  All this water being dumped from the lake rushed its way downstream, and was a heck of site to see (not to mention this created a feeding frenzy for seabirds waiting below the spillway for their meals to be delivered from the lake).

February 2016- No spillway gates are open and no water is being released from Toledo Bend downstream, as the lake level has subsided to pretty much normal.  All is quiet on this part of Toro Bayou and the Sabine River now… it is like a whole different place than it was just a month ago!

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Big fun at Big Cow Creek.. Just as one would expect from a creek named “Big Cow”

Big Cow Creek ... at Texas Hwy. 363 bridge which crosses it
Big Cow Creek … at Texas Hwy. 363 bridge which crosses it
Big Cow Creek, horshoeing along its merry way
Big Cow Creek, horshoeing along its merry way

Back in December, I had shared a few photos and details of waterway called Big Cow Creek.  I did not expect the response I got… nearly 150 likes, some 30 comments and almost 50 shares.  People commented about how special the creek was to them, referring to fond memories and happy times on the creek… fishing, swimming, playing, picnicking, even being baptized in the creek’s cold waters.

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1920s historic downtown Natchitoches, Louisiana

Natchitoches, Louisiana from the air in the early 1920s
Natchitoches, Louisiana from the air in the early 1920s

This aerial photo, taken I believe in 1923, of downtown Natchitoches is quite remarkable.  We have tried to duplicate the shot today so we can show the difference… and will I presume eventually get the right angle… but so far have been unsuccessful and quite frustrated!  In the meantime, though, I am sharing the photo because it is so interesting.  I also zoomed in on each part of the photo… please know anyone is welcome to share if they have any ideas or suggestions about long gone or much changed structures or landmarks.

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Kisatchie Bayou

Kisatchie Bayou

Visitors to the Kisatchie Bayou Recreation Complex in Natchitoches Parish can enjoy scenic views of the rocky bayou surrounded by beautiful old growth hardwood and pine which gives this out-of-the-way recreation area such a wonderful setting for visitors. Hiking, camping, picnicking, fishing, and just relaxing are all popular activities enjoyed here.

It is one of our favorite getaway places… so much to do and so incredibly beautiful.  There is a fee… I think it is like $2 or something really really cheap… we always put whatever we have in cash in the envelope… which is never less than $2 and never more than $20.  The fee is based on the honor system, so please contribute!

Here is some fun footage of the bayou we captured this past weekend:

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Construction of Pendleton Bridge over future Toledo Bend Lake

The old and the new.  The old truss bridge which crossed the Sabine River for three decades stands next to the support structures which are being constructed as part of the new Pendleton Bridge which will cross Toledo Bend lake
The old and the new. The old truss bridge which crossed the Sabine River for three decades stands next to the support structures which are being constructed as part of the new Pendleton Bridge which will cross Toledo Bend lake

In 1966, there was not yet a Toledo Bend Lake.  The bridge which crossed the Sabine River, which was dammed in 1967 to form Toledo Bend Lake, was a metal truss bridge built in 1936 to replace a ferry crossing across the river.  It was tee-tiny compared to what its “replacement” two or three mile long bridge would be.

Both bridges were named Pendleton… though the older was more often called the Pendleton Gaines Bridge.

Some old aerial photos taken by the Texas Department of Transportation show the Pendleton Bridge during construction, and the old Pendleton Gaines Bridge before it was no longer to be used to cross the Sabine.  I enlarged and clarified some portions of each of these photos.  If anyone recognizes any structures or roads or anything in the enlargements, please share any details!

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