Through the years: 1937 to 1973
1937 — Buchanan dies. Lyndon Baines Johnson, a strong advocate of public power, succeeds Buchanan in a special election. LCRA begins construction of Marshall Ford Dam, designed to form a massive reservoir that can contain Hill Country floodwaters.
1938 — Buchanan and Inks dams begin operations. LCRA begins reconstruction of the Austin Dam.
July 1938 — A massive flood forces LCRA to open 22 of Buchanan Dam's 37 floodgates -- a record for that dam.
August 1938 — In response to Rep. Johnson's urgings, LCRA begins a public power program to benefit Central Texas communities. It hires Seguin Mayor Max Starcke to run the program.
September 1938 — The July 1938 flood points to the need for a "higher" Marshall Ford Dam to hold floodwaters -- and better monitoring of river and weather conditions. LCRA approves installation of 50 rain gauges -- the first comprehensive watershed reporting system in Texas.
February 1940 — LCRA completes reconstruction of Austin Dam, which is renamed in April for Austin Mayor Tom Miller.
May 1940 — LCRA Operations Manager Max Starcke becomes LCRA's second general manager.
1941 — More than half of LCRA's current electric customers have signed up to buy LCRA power.
1941 — Marshall Ford Dam is renamed in honor of U.S. Rep. Joseph J. Mansfield. The dam, which forms Lake Travis, is completed the following year.
1941 — LCRA adopts the name "Highland Lakes" for the reservoirs formed by its dams as part of efforts to promote recreation in the region.
1945 — Sam K. Seymour, Jr., a Columbus businessman, is appointed to the LCRA Board of Directors. He will serve 36 years, longer than any other LCRA director.
Aug. 6, 1945 — LCRA lowers Lake Austin for the first time to control the growth of nuisance aquatic plants, popularly known as "duckweed."
April 1947 — LCRA begins operating the Comal Power Plant in New Braunfels to meet growing electric load demands. The plant is LCRA's first nonhydroelectric unit, using natural gas for fuel.
April 1948 — At the strong urging of Rep. Johnson, LCRA adopts a soil conservation program. LCRA and the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority start first locally sponsored program in the United States.
1949 — "Operation Waterlift" arrives in New York City with 3,000 gallons of water from the Highland Lakes to drought-stricken residents. The publicity stunt garners national attention for the Highland Lakes.
1951 — LCRA finishes construction of Granite Shoals and Marble Falls dams, completing the Highland Lakes chain. The LCRA Board is expanded to 12 directors.
August 1951 — Lake Travis drops to its all-time low elevation of 614.18 feet msl, almost 67 feet below full elevation.
September 1951 — Alvin Wirtz, known as the "Father of LCRA," dies. LCRA renames Granite Shoals Dam in his memory.
September 1952 — Lake Travis rises 57 feet in 14 hours following rains of up to 15 inches -- still a record for the highest, fastest rise on the lake.
January 1956 — LCRA General Counsel Sim Gideon becomes LCRA's third general manager.
1957 — A decade-long "Drought of Record" ends in Central Texas following spring thunderstorms that dump more than 3 million acre-feet of water in the Colorado River. LCRA operates Mansfield Dam for flood-management purposes for the first time, opening six gates (still a record).
December 1959 — LCRA purchases Gulf Coast Water Company in Bay City and begins management of irrigation operations in Matagorda and Wharton counties.
September 1962 — LCRA renames Marble Falls Dam in honor of former General Manager Max Starcke.
1965 — Lake Granite Shoals, created by Wirtz Dam, is renamed in honor of President Lyndon B. Johnson.
1965 — The first unit of the Sim Gideon Power Plant -- the first nonhydroelectric plant to be built by LCRA -- is placed in operation. LCRA will add units in 1968 and 1971. All three units use natural gas for fuel.
1971 — Texas Legislature gives LCRA power to control water pollution in both surface and groundwater, operate and own wastewater and waste disposal services, develop and manage parks and promote fish preservation.
June 1973 — State Senator Charles Herring becomes LCRA's fourth general manager. LCRA shuts down the Comal Power Plant when rising fuel costs make the plant no longer economical.
See: Through the years: 1974 to present
Go back: Through the years: beginning