Lake Travis History
Lake Travis History
'Of all the endeavors on which I have worked in public life, I am proudest of the accomplishment in developing the Colorado River.
It is not the damming of the streams or the harnessing of the floods in which I take pride, but rather in the ending of the waste of the region.
The region - so unproductive in my youth - is now a vital part of the national economy and potential.'
Lyndon Johnson, 1958
In the early part of the 20th century, Austin, Texas was a growing and thriving little city. Only 20 miles west of Austin, in the area now known as South Lake Travis, time seemingly stood still. Populated with a smattering of farms, ranches, it was an area where Texans lived looking for beautiful natural surroundings and an alternative to city life.
The Colorado River ran through the Hill Country and Travis County. A resource both beautiful and (usually) advantageous for nearby farmers and dwellers, when it flooded, the River caused great damage to the area. In an effort to control flooding and a desire to produce inexpensive hydroelectric electricity, the idea of building a dam was born.
The Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) together with support from politicians J.P. Buchanan and (later) a young Congressman named Lyndon Johnson, the LCRA took on the herculean effort of building Mansfield Dam. Construction began in 1937 on the 26-story high, 7,000 foot long Dam and 4 years later was completed.
From the enclosure that was to be Mansfield Dam was created our Lake Travis. At its’ widest point the lake is 4.5 miles, spans 63.5 miles, and is almost 19,000 acres in area. Today, the lake is a favorite destination point for visitors from all over Texas and beyond. Boaters, swimmers, fisherman, and water lovers alike come back year after year to enjoy it's natural beauty and scenic landscapes. The residential community has grown and with it also a thriving environment for commercial and retail businesses.