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littlebunny

Lake Conroe History

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I am just curious about the history of Lake Conroe. I always thought it was a natural lake, I had no idea it was a man made. My dad used to take us fishing there when we were kids. I am just wondering how it was built, how long it took, where did they get the water to fill it with. Any memories guys?

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I am just curious about the history of Lake Conroe. I always thought it was a natural lake, I had no idea it was a man made. My dad used to take us fishing there when we were kids. I am just wondering how it was built, how long it took, where did they get the water to fill it with. Any memories guys?

I believe the only natural lake in Texas is Caddo lake along the Texas-Louisiana border. Lake Conroe was created by damming the west fork of the San Jacinto River.

My great aunt and uncle owned property on State Hiway 105 between Conroe and Montgomery. My mother and her family would go there every Thanksgiving for the day. After she married my father and my sister and I were born, we continued the tradition. There were usually about 30 family members in attendance. I remember when they started excavating for the lake. That was around 1970 and it took about three years to complete. Much of my uncles pasture land was bought for the purpose. Needless to say it was a great windfall for my aunt and uncle.

One autumn my cousins and I were "hunting" armadillo in the field behind the house. A few years later we were fishing in exact same spot. The state put in a concrete boat ramp for my uncle to use and of course the family took advantage of that. So did seemingly everybody else. It got to be so bad that my uncle had to fence off the boat ramp. The big problem was that people would leave their trailers and tow vehicles in his "front yard" and, of course, litter as they left. Some folks can be real savages. :mellow:

My aunt and uncle passed away some time ago. I don't know how the property was disposed of afterward. I suppose my cousins (with whom I've lost contact) sold it. The area was becoming much more commercial. When I first remember going up there 105 was two lanes and wasn't even paved for the last few miles. The last time I passed by 105 was six lanes plus a left turn lane. the old house (a really nice late-50's ranch) was still there but looked pretty derelict. The fate of the old homestead is sad as is the fact I lost contact with certain relatives. The only time we really spent together was at Thanksgiving though. The last time I am sure we met there was in 1980.

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I believe the only natural lake in Texas is Caddo lake along the Texas-Louisiana border. Lake Conroe was created by damming the west fork of the San Jacinto River.

This is true. Caddo is the only natural lake in the entire state of Texas. And this factoid is the source of a large laugh I got from an old map of Texas in National Geographic a long time ago. You know how Nat Geo will devote most of an entire issue to a particular country or state, with its history, lots of photos and present day and historic maps. They did that with Texas back in the mid 1980s.

One of the big fold-out maps in this Texas feature was Texas as it was in 1846. I immediately laughed out loud when I saw that every one of our present day man-made lakes and reservoirs were shown on that map. All of them, from Texoma on the Red River to Lake of the Pines, Rayburn, Toledo Bend, Lake Houston, Lake Livingston, Lake Conroe and all the others. I had a lot of fun showing this map to friends and we all had a good laugh over it. I wish now I had kept it.

I never got around to contacting Nat Geo to let them know about that mistake. I wonder if anybody ever told them.

Edited by FilioScotia

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I grew up going to Lake Livingston & Lake Sam Rayburn. My father always talked about both being man-made lakes. On a map of Lake Livingston, I once saw a reference to a cemetery. I believe the bodies were moved, I once heard there was also a town, now lost to the lake construction.

I read somewhere recently that Lake Houston was created as an alternative to ground water extraction, and the reserviors on the west/ northwest side of Houston were made to control flood water after several devastating floods destroyed parts of downtown in the1930's.

Seems water manipulation is one skill Texans & especially Houstonians have always tried to improve upon.

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I grew up going to Lake Livingston & Lake Sam Rayburn. My father always talked about both being man-made lakes. On a map of Lake Livingston, I once saw a reference to a cemetery. I believe the bodies were moved, I once heard there was also a town, now lost to the lake construction.

I read somewhere recently that Lake Houston was created as an alternative to ground water extraction, and the reserviors on the west/ northwest side of Houston were made to control flood water after several devastating floods destroyed parts of downtown in the1930's.

Seems water manipulation is one skill Texans & especially Houstonians have always tried to improve upon.

I've seen a nautical map of Lake Livingston. It does show old roads and the cemetery, etc. Supposedly, the old gates to the cemetery is a good fishing spot.

I remember 30 years ago that Conroe was real stumpy. Is it still that way?

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I don't know much about Lake Conroe, but during this drought it probably is.

That was one characteristic of Lake Sam Rayburn that supposedly made the fishing better.

Maybe someone else knows.

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A friend of my dad acquired property on Lake Livingston before the dam was completed. He created a small subdivision with several waterfront lots. (Made up all of his money just by selling those waterfront lots).We went up there several times while the lake was filling up. It was amazing to me as a young kid to see the progress and I for the life of me couldn't figure out how the engineers knew exactly were the water level would be upon completion.

Nena is correct about a cemetery being submerged. Dad drove us out into the bottom land several times during that period to see the water slowly creep up and consume houses and barns left behind. Some familys stayed in their homes until the last minute.

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My grandparents lived north of College Station off Highway 6 and OSR. When I was little my Father's preferred route was 45 N to 105 across to Highway 6 in Navasota. We drove 105 a bunch. I remember a house which at the time was out in the middle of nowhere on 105. It had a small lake/ tank that they dug out and left a small island in the middle. When they built Lake Conroe and filled it, the small lake/ tank had one side of it cut out and it effectively at that point was lake front property. I always marveled at how the house and that tank was perfectly positioned for that to happen. I also remember stopping for bar-b-que at a place on 105 all the time. Several years ago I was in the area and the place is still there. It's an A frame like building and long ago the family that ran the place lived upstairs. It was a store that sold all sorts of things including bar-b-que and fishing worms. Today it is pretty much just an eating place. As the growth started my Father changed his preffered route over to 290 and we did not take 105 very often.

Edited by brerrabbit

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My grandparents lived north of College Station off Highway 6 and OSR. When I was little my Father's preferred route was 45 N to 105 across to Highway 6 in Navasota. We drove 105 a bunch. I remember a house which at the time was out in the middle of nowhere on 105. It had a small lake/ tank that they dug out and left a small island in the middle. When they built Lake Conroe and filled it, the small lake/ tank had one side of it cut out and it effectively at that point was lake front property. I always marveled at how the house and that tank was perfectly positioned for that to happen. I also remember stopping for bar-b-que at a place on 105 all the time. Several years ago I was in the area and the place is still there. It's an A frame like building and long ago the family that ran the place lived upstairs. It was a store that sold all sorts of things including bar-b-que and fishing worms. Today it is pretty much just an eating place. As the growth started my Father changed his preffered route over to 290 and we did not take 105 very often.

When my family goes to Baton Rouge, we always take 105 and prefer over 290/10, even if there is higher potential for wrecks and more stoplights. On Lake Conroe, I'm glad they made 105 six lanes back in the early 1990s...it really qualifies for that now.

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When my family goes to Baton Rouge, we always take 105 and prefer over 290/10, even if there is higher potential for wrecks and more stoplights. On Lake Conroe, I'm glad they made 105 six lanes back in the early 1990s...it really qualifies for that now.

Tiger, I don't know if glad is the word I would use regarding the widening of 105. I know it was necessary and inevitable but to remember how beautiful the drive was between those tall pine trees is a wonderful bit of nostalgia.

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