‘On the Dock’ Reflects on the History of Belton Lake
The construction of the Belton Dam was a very important event for our part of Central Texas. Thanks to a question from Raymond, a regular caller to KTEM, the "On the Dock' team took the time to reflect on what's changed since Belton Lake was introduced.
The lake was officially impounded in 1954 thanks to Sam Rayburn and Lyndon B. Johnson, who were well aware of the flooding problems many Texans faced. They appropriated funds to construct dams to fix the flooding issue and to provide water sources for nearby communities. At the time, Lake Belton was the third largest lake in Texas.
The filling of the lake was expected to take much longer than it actually did because of storms that came through and rapidly increased the fill rate. There was concern for the structural integrity of the dam, which was supposed to have a long settling period. Despite being half the size of Belton, Lake Stillhouse, the second "Twin Lake", took much longer to fill.
There were three small communities displaced from the location where the lake currently sits: Tennessee Valley, Sparta, and Bland. There is even a Bland Mountain named after the Blands who lived there.
Another major change came in 1976, when the lake was raised by 25 ft. Several favorite spots were swallowed by the rise, including a couple of bait shops and Hill's Dock, a favorite fishing spot.
Today, Belton Lake continues to be a popular recreational destination and important water source for those of us who live nearby. You can listen to the stories for yourself on Sunday at 10am on KTEM 1400.
You can also hear more about our local lakes Friday afternoons from 5pm to 6pm on KTEM.