Float in downtown Eagle Lake |
Photo Courtesy Nesbitt Memorial Library # 01619
in a Pecan Shell
Gertrude Stein said about Oakland (California, not the Texas town in Colorado
County) - "When you get there, there's no there there." If you're traveling to
Eagle Lake expecting to see a lake - you might want to bring a tall step ladder.
There is indeed a (1,400 acre) lake there - and it is indeed called Eagle Lake,
but it's private property. A smaller lake called Lower Lake sits below Eagle Lake
- also privately owned.
The town dates from 1821 when scouts of Stephen
F. Austin reportedly killed an eagle here. There's also a colorful legend about
an Indian chief's daughter and two handsome suitors, but it sounds fanciful when
compared to the more probable naming by Austin's scouts.
In March of
1838 land along the lake was granted to one Patrick Reels. Two others held previously
issued grants along the lakeshore. In the 1850s Gamaliel Good acquired most of
the land and then sold 600 acres to DeWitt Clinton Harris, who sat on the board
of the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos and Colorado Railway.
The two became partners and planned a town here. Situated between Austin
and prsent-day Houston, it couldn't
miss. The railroad arrived just prior to the Civil War. After the war, when the
railroads were expanding all over the state, Eagle Lake became a railroad crossroads.
The Cane Belt, San Antonio and Aransas Pass, Southern Pacific and later the Santa
Fe all had a presence in Eagle Lake. The Santa Fe depot still stands - as a privately
Sugarcane was a cash crop after the Civil War and the
planting of rice was introduced in the 1890s. The mills have been long gone, but
grain elevators and rice dryers are still present - although several are vacant.
The town remains popular with hunters who come for the ducks and geese.
Baby Eagles" Rhythm Band c. 1941 |
Photo Courtesy The Nesbitt Memorial Library #01950
Lake High School Band |
Photo Courtesy Nesbitt Memorial Library # 1707
Day of School 1935 |
Photo Courtesy Nesbitt Memorial Library # 01793
Lake Rod and Gun Club "Courtesy Vehicle"|
Photo Courtesy Nesbitt Memorial Library # 01629
but still standing in November, 1996, Tower 115 in Eagle Lake sits silently as
an eastbound Southern Pacific freight rumbles by on the Sunset Route headed for
Houston. The tower was razed shortly after this photo was taken."
Photo courtesy Jim King
Interlocking Towers of Texas
elevator near Eagle Lake|
TE photo, December 2003
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