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Medina Lake Dam gets 100 candles

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

With the completion of the Medina Lake Dam in November 1912, a grand ambitious dream had become a reality.

At that time, the dam was the largest in Texas and the fourth largest in the world. Now, 100 years later, the Medina Dam still stands as a solid testament to 20th century technology and human strength and endurance.

The dam's centennial celebration will take place from 10 am until 9 pm, Saturday, August 25. The Medina Lake Preservation Society (MLPS) will serve as official sponsor for all centennial activities. Throughout the day, activities will be held around the lake; the Bedrock Resort, 6750 CR 271, in Medina County; and at the Lakehills Civic Center, 11225 Park Road 37, in Lakehills. Those attending are advised to bring lawn chairs and sun protection.

The 10 am kickoff will feature dignitaries from the United States, Mexico and Great Britain, countries that contributed to the dam's construction. Also on tap will be the Fort Sam Houston Army Band and Color Guard. A memorial ceremony beginning at 11 am that honors workers who lost their lives during construction of the dam will culminate with a wreath drop into the waters via a helicopter.

Beginning at noon, "The Medina Dam Story" will be presented at the Bedrock Resort. This history of the Medina Dam project will include historic photographs and "local lore." Seating is limited so reservations are recommended by calling the MLPS at 210-400-0331.

Exhibits at the Lakehills Civic Center, open from noon through 4 pm, will feature installations by water conservation agencies and historical groups. Also, a photo display will highlight "100 Years of Medina Lake."

Additionally from 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm, an anthropology professor will discuss "Archaeology of the Medina River Valley," complete with photographs and artifacts. Again, due to limited seating, reservations for this lecture at the civic center are recommended.

Other activities include a water skiing exhibition from 1 pm to 1:30 pm, which can be viewed at Jones Marina, Red Cove and the Bedrock Resort; UV Fountain Display, 2:30 pm until 3:30 pm, with vantage point at Jones Marina; and presentations by the Bandera Cattle Company Gunfighters, who will offer vignettes of the Old West from noon until 4 pm at the civic center, Mico Volunteer Fire Department and the Bedrock Resort.

From 11 am until 3 pm, a special Centennial Barbecue will be served at the Mico VFD.

The day's celebrations will culminate at the Lakehills Civic Center with the "Medina Dam Jam" - nonstop live music provided by the Vinyl 45's, Spider Johnson, Rodney Joe Smith and Alan Chapman, along with other musicians. Members of the Boys & Girls Club of Bandera County-Lakehills will sell bottled water during the jam, courtesy of H-E-B.

Also, an outdoor movie - appropriately titled "Gone Fishin," starring Joe Pesci - will be shown at the Bedrock Resort from dusk until 9 pm. Those attending are reminded to bring lawn chairs or blankets.

Volunteers with the MLPS invite residents of the lakeplex communities - and beyond - to celebrate the 100th birthday of the Medina Lake Dam that was designated a Texas Historical Landmark in 1978.

The Texas Division of the American Society of Civil Engineers also recognized the dam in 1991 as a historic civil engineering landmark.

Additionally, a stabilization project completed in July 2012 led to another record. The Medina Lake Dam now boasts the largest post tension cable anchoring system in North America.

One hundred years old and she's still going strong.

All activities planned on Saturday, August 25, are free and open to the public. For a complete schedule of events, visit


or call 210-400-0331.

Along with the MLPS, sponsors of the Medina Lake Dam Centennial include Celebrate Bandera, H-E-B, Hi-Energy Realty, Lynd Real Estate, Mico VFD, San Antonio River Authority, San Antonio Talons and Wommack Chevrolet.