This day in Texas History: Possum Kingdom Reservoir Completed

This day in Texas History:

Possum Kingdom Reservoir Completed

March 20, 1941

4th of July on the Lake
4th of July on the Lake

Possum Kingdom Reservoir, popularly known as Possum Kingdom Lake, is on the Brazos River in Palo Pinto, Stephens, Jack, and Young counties It has a capacity of 724,700 acre-feet, a surface area of 19,800 acres, and a shoreline of 310 miles. Here Morris Sheppard Dam impounds 1,500,000 acre-feet of water annually for municipal, industrial, mining, irrigation, flood-control, recreational, and power-generation uses. Area hills and valleys, post oaks, and cedars make a “veritable paradise” for possums around the lake.

The dam, named for Senator John Morris Sheppard and authorized by the United States Congress in 1935, was the first erected by the Brazos River Conservation and Reclamation District. It was begun on May 29, 1938, under general contractors C. F. Lytle and A. L. Johnson and completed on March 20, 1941.

The dam, a heavily buttressed concrete structure with adjoining earth embankment, was built at a cost of $8,500,000, which represented a $4,500,000 grant from the federal government, supplemented by $4,000,000 from ad valorem taxes in ten counties along the lower Brazos watershed. Drainage area above the dam is 22,550 square miles, of which 9,240 are noncontributing. The dam is 2,747 feet long and has a maximum height of 189 feet; the spillway is 987 feet above mean sea level.

The average output of the dam’s power-generating plant is estimated at 73,000,000 KWH. The lake and reservoir are currently owned and operated by the Brazos River Authority.

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