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!

Continue reading “Construction of Pendleton Bridge over future Toledo Bend Lake”

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Photos: Early 1900s train wreck in Zwolle, Louisiana

Train wreck in Zwolle, Louisiana
Train wreck in Zwolle, Louisiana

I don’t know very much about this train wreck at all… only that it was in Zwolle, Louisiana most likely Kansas City Southern Railroad, in the early 1900s.  Was part of the Roy Procell Photo Collection we are scanning and preserving through the Sabine Parish Library.

The backs of the three photos note that this was a train wreck on logging spur from Zwolle, Louisiana to Blue Lake, Louisiana (both in North Sabine Parish).  Anyone with any details, or ideas, or just suggestions… please comment!

Continue reading “Photos: Early 1900s train wreck in Zwolle, Louisiana”

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The Toledo Bend Damsite: Spillway, power generation plant, and plenty of beauty between and beyond

Toledo Bend Power Generation Plant in the middle, and the Sabine River in the background
Toledo Bend Power Generation Plant in the middle, and the Sabine River in the background

The Toledo Bend Project was created by the Legislatures of the States of Texas and Louisiana and includes the mammoth 186,000 acre lake, a more than 11,000 ft. long, 100 ft. tall rolled earthen dam, a managed spillway with 11 release gates, and a hydroelectricity generation plant capable of producing over 200 million kilowatt hours of electricity a year.

In the video that follows, the footage on the Texas side of Toledo Bend, where the power plant is located, was taken this past weekend.  Some of the footage at the spillway was taken this past weekend as well, while some at the spillway was taken about a month ago.

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Program for the dedication of the original Pendleton Bridge

ats pb1I came across this gem at the Sabine Parish Library… It is a program, published by The Sabine Index of Many, Louisiana, for the 1937 dedication of the Pendleton Bridge over the Sabine River.

This truss bridge crossing the Sabine River came thirty years before there was a Toledo Bend Lake.  For the time, it was considered a spectacular bridge… and one that essentially carved out a much needed road across the Sabine River at Pendleton between Louisiana and Texas.  Before the bridge, the Pendleton Gaines Ferry was used for travelers to get across the Sabine between Texas and Louisiana.

Continue reading “Program for the dedication of the original Pendleton Bridge”

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Goodbye to the Hills, once Toro and later Emerald

Postcard for Toro Hills Motel
Postcard for Toro Hills Motel

First, it was Hodges Gardens Motor Inn, just across the highway from the magnificent Hodges Gardens.  It was created and designed specifically to complement Hodges Gardens… which in the 60s was such a heavy tourist attraction that a nearby hotel (okay, motel) and restaurant was needed.

Not just wanted, but needed.

And an accompanying golf course was perfect for the men who might tend to be bored with the Gardens.

Continue reading “Goodbye to the Hills, once Toro and later Emerald”

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Story of Noble, Louisiana brilliant recluse takes me by storm and leaves me reeling

Sometimes, the crazy old man in the town you were raised in… wasn’t.

That very sentence hooked me and reeled me in to one of the better non-fiction books I have ever read.
 
“Smokey” is a book about a local character who plenty of locals seemed to have been aware of but who no one really knew.  Herbert Glen Irwin lived 32 years of his unique and what could easily be called incredible 84 years of life in the tiny community of Noble, Louisiana, located in northern Sabine Parish.

Continue reading “Story of Noble, Louisiana brilliant recluse takes me by storm and leaves me reeling”

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The story of a film star: Full of twists and turns from Toro, Louisiana to Hollywood, California

ats mary miles minter
I have been aware for many years of a silent film star whose roots are in Sabine Parish.  I remembered reading several years ago about Mary Miles Minter and her connections to this parish.  I recalled reading she was buried in a cemetery in Mansfield, Louisiana.  I knew she was the subject of scandalous accusations following the Hollywood true crime story of the murder of Paramount Studios Director William Desmond Taylor.  I knew she retreated into private life and the depths of solitude after having her squeaky clean image tarnished at the hands of tabloid media (who by all counts might have been bigger vultures a hundred years ago than they are today). Continue reading “The story of a film star: Full of twists and turns from Toro, Louisiana to Hollywood, California”

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