Surrounded by the beautiful Texas Hill Country, Medina Lake has a rich history of fortunes rising and falling as rapidly and unpredictably as the level of the lake. Completed in 1912, Medina Dam was, at the time, the largest concrete dam in Texas. The lake was initially constructed to irrigate farmlands, but its rising waters forever altered a way of life for the ranchers and farmers who lived on the land above the dam. When ranchers and farmers were faced with condemnation of their lands, the first cries of “whiskey’s for drinking and water’s for fighting” were heard. As a testament to the resiliency of these original families, they turned their losses into a new way of life catering to the tourists, hunters, and fishermen who flocked to the newly formed lake. As continual droughts plague the semiarid desert that surrounds the lake, a never-ending tug-of-war over water resources continues. Meanwhile, the lake’s pristine blue-green waters continue to attract boaters, swimmers, fishermen, revelers, and those who have made their homes on the limestone bluffs that encircle Medina Lake.
About the Author
Authors Rebecca Huffstutler Norton and Karen Downing Ripley begin their history in the canyon where the Medina River flowed before the dam to the communities that developed around the lake. The authors have used images generously loaned by the families, organizations, and businesses that have brought life to Medina Lake.
Table of Contents
1 Life Before the Dam 9
2 A Dream is Born 17
3 A Dam is Built 23
4 A Lake Comes to Life 37
5 A Community Grows 57
6 Wet and Dry, Nature's Wrath 85
7 Whiskey is for Drinking, Water is for Fighting 99
8 Tall Tales, Happy Trails 119