Thursday, May 28, 2015

Texoma Flooding

Water, water everywhere at Hagerman NWR. as Lake Texoma topped the spillway last weekend and the lake level continues to rise as more rain falls.  Today's blog is a reprise of past information about Lake Texoma, the Denison Dam and the Refuge.

For June 28, 2012:
"....July 7, 2007, Lake Texoma topped the spillway, 640’ and areas around the lake, including much of Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge, remained flooded for several months. According to the US Army Corps of Engineers, the lake's highest elevation was recorded on May 6, 1990 at 644.76’. The top of Denison Dam is at 670’ elevation. The photo of Dead Woman's Pond, below,  was taken in August, 2007:

For July 4, 2014, we wrote:
"...we thought a little history might be in order - locally, the Herald Democrat reported that 70 years ago this week the newly completed Denison Dam was dedicated. You can learn more by clicking Herald Democrat.

Hagerman NWR and sister refuge Tishomingo were established in 1946, following completion of the lake. Visitors to the refuge enjoy perusing the exhibit and scrapbook of photos and clippings about the town of Hagerman, removed to make way for Lake Texoma, and the early days of the refuge.

From "A History of Hagerman by Dr. Jerry Lincecum", quoted in the blog August 28, 2014:
Despite the ill effects of the Great Depression, the town prospered until 1940. When the U.S. government announced it was going to buy up the land adjacent to Big Mineral Creek for the reservoir which would become Lake Texoma, some of the Hagerman citizens began moving out. Gradually, this island of activity began to break apart and drift away. The cotton gin was sold and moved to Tioga. The moving of houses from Hagerman to other locations soon gave the town a half-empty look.

In 1939 the clearing of land for this flood control project on Red River started, though the actual construction of the dam did not begin until 1940. The Hagerman Presbyterian Church (below) had its building reinforced in 1942, so it could be moved to the Denison area to become Hyde Park Presbyterian.

The Hagerman Baptist Church was moved eastward about two miles, where today a more modern building houses the congregation.
 After the Denison Dam was completed in late December of 1943, the waters of Lake Texoma rose rapidly to cover most of the buildings that remained. The two-story school, (shown below) which stood on higher ground, was soon razed to reclaim the bricks. Thus the town of Hagerman died only about 40 years after it was founded.

The next photo shows the area where the school once stood, now flooded by the swollen lake waters. The Visitor Center/Refuge Office sits at 649' above sea level.

More history is available in Gene Lenore's  DVD, Denison Dam - Taming the Raging Red, which can be purchased from the Nature Nook, once flooding recedes and the Visitor Center re-opens!

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