LCRA Historical Timeline

The Lower Colorado River Authority serves customers and communities throughout Texas by managing the lower Colorado River; generating, delivering and transmitting electric power; ensuring a clean, reliable water supply; and offering access to nature at more than 40 parks, recreation areas and river access sites along the Texas Colorado River, from the Hill Country to the Gulf Coast. In the years since the Texas Legislature created LCRA in 1934, it brought electricity to rural Central Texas and managed numerous floods and droughts. LCRA’s timeline uses archival photos and videos to provide a look into the work that shaped a public service organization and transformed the Hill Country and lower Colorado River basin.

1893-01-01 00:00:00

1893 – City of Austin builds Austin Dam

The City of Austin builds the first significant dam on the lower Colorado River in 1893.

1932-01-01 00:00:00

1932 – Bankruptcy leaves a half-built dam

In 1931, a subsidiary of the nationwide Insull utility company begins constructing the most ambitious dam project to date on the Colorado. Insull’s bankruptcy the following year will lead to plans to finish what would become Buchanan Dam – sowing the seeds for the eventual creation of LCRA.

1932-07-01 00:00:00

1932 – Blind Man's Vision

After the Insull utility company’s bankruptcy in 1932, the only available option to finish Buchanan Dam is federal funds that can go only to a public agency. The state’s power brokers spend more than a year wrangling funding before creating the Lower Colorado River Authority in November 1934.

1934-07-01 00:00:00

1934 – Gov. Miriam “Ma” Ferguson signs bill creating LCRA

Governor Miriam A. “Ma” Ferguson brokers the deal that enables passage of legislation creating LCRA during the fourth special session of the Texas Legislature. She signs the bill shortly after it passes Nov. 10, 1934. This photo of Ferguson, courtesy of the Austin History Center, shows a similar signing session.

1935-01-01 00:00:00

1935 – LCRA opens for business

In this 1995 interview, Gaynelle King, one of LCRA’s first employees, describes working at LCRA.

1935-02-01 00:00:00

1935 – General Manager Clarence McDonough

Clarence McDonough becomes LCRA’s first general manager in September 1935. With a background as an engineer for the Tennessee Valley Authority, McDonough oversees LCRA’s initial construction phase, which includes completion of Buchanan, Inks and Tom Miller dams, the start of Mansfield Dam, and the beginning of LCRA’s electric transmission system.

1935-02-01 00:00:00

1935 – The LCRA seal

This video segment from the mid-1990s explains the meaning of the original LCRA seal designed in 1935.

1935-02-01 00:00:00

1935 – LCRA's public power program

This segment from an LCRA 60th anniversary video in 1995 explains the impact of LCRA on the lower Colorado River basin and Central Texas area – and the appeal of reliable public power to rural residents.

1935-02-01 00:00:00

1935 – Jobs at Buchanan Dam

In the mid-1930s, Central Texas was feeling the pain of the Great Depression. In this 1980s interview, LCRA’s R.A. Lucksinger describes the intense interest from jobseekers who learned LCRA was hiring construction workers at Buchanan Dam.

1936-01-01 00:00:00

1936 – LCRA's first major test

The Colorado River basin endures massive floods in the 1930s, including a 1935 flood that sweeps through downtown Austin. LCRA was still securing federal funding to resume construction of Buchanan Dam when the June 1935 flood struck the lower Colorado River basin.

LCRA Historical Timeline

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