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.
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.
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!
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.
In Sabine County, Texas, nine miles west of Hemphill, there is a town named Bronson. It was once a hopping area, in the glory days of logging. Donna Owens Jones shared two postcards from Bronson in 1909. Back in that time, Bronson was just getting kicked off in its heyday, and had reached a population of 1,000.
I 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.