I have found no newspaper which documented the construction projects involved in the making of Toledo Bend better than the Longview News Journal. Here are some photos and pages of one of many features that The News Journal published on the making of the Toledo Bend Project.
In May 1963, land acquisition for Toledo Bend Reservoir got underway. Construction of the Toledo Bend Dam, which would halt the flow of the mighty Sabine River to ultimately create the lake, began almost one year later, in April 1963. The dam and the spillway construction were initiated, along with the building of a power plant from which hydroelectricity would be generated.
The closure of the earthen embankment and the filling of the lake began in October 1966.
Here are a few photos of the construction of the Spillway and Dam. The spillway was designed to provide the controlled release of flows from the dam downstream to the Sabine River, and to release flood water so the level does not get too high and overtop or damage the dam.
Here are some photos of construction of the dam and spillway. I added some close ups of a couple of the photos… honing in on different parts of the original photo.
We received a request regarding photos and information on ferries which operated on the Sabine River before the bridges were built (most of the bridges that were added on the Sabine River were built in the 1930s). So I rounded up all the photos I had and grabbed up a few old newspaper articles and here they are. If anyone has additional photos, I would love love love to share them! They are really invaluable and I get so excited any time I come across one.
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.
Another bridge crossing the Sabine River is scheduled to be replaced within the next year. Burr’s Ferry Bridge, a kind of strangely attractive bridge which crosses between Newton County in Texas (Tx. Hwy. 63) and Vernon Parish in Louisiana (La. Hwy. 8), will soon be replaced.
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.
A good photograph can say a thousand words.
“Wooden passenger car the day the lots were sold,” is written on the back of this photograph, supposedly the first excursion train in Kirbyville, Texas.