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2012-08-30

No present of precip for dam's 100th BD

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

The best present would have been massive amounts of precipitation, of course. While that didn't happen, nevertheless, the 100th birthday of the Medina Lake Dam was cause for celebration.

Elected officials and dignitaries gathered under a gazebo at the Bedrock Resort in Mico for opening ceremonies, with a welcome by Gloria Villela Muñiz, president of the Medina Lake Preservation Society.

With temperatures in the 90s, the site, which overlooked the water - or rather what was left of it - caught some blessedly welcomed breezes.

Muñiz's heartfelt, "Happy 100th birthday, Medina Lake Dam," kicked off the daylong festivities that took place at the Bedrock Resort, at strategic places around the lake and the Lakehills Civic Center.

Medina County Judge James E. Barden traded lighthearted banter with his Bandera counterpart, Judge Richard Evans.

For first-timers to the area, Barden noted, "You'll notice we have held off filling the lake so you can see what it looked like back in 1912 when they were filling it up."

Evans rejoined, "Medina County may have the dam, but (Bandera County) provides the water." And, due to an ongoing drought, that has lately been a scarce commodity. Now down by over 60 percent, Medina Lake has been reduced to 13 percent capacity.

Built by the Medina Irrigation Company - hence the community of Mico - the dam provided irrigation for farmland. Bandera County's recreational use of the lake became a secondary bonus.

Saturday's ceremony was designed to pay homage to the three countries and their contributions to the dam's creation - American ingenuity, British financing and Mexican labor.

Guest speakers included Andrew Decker, a descendant of architect William Springall of Great Britain, who designed the dam, and Terry Camacho, who is assigned to the Office of the Consul General in San Antonio from Mexico.

Camacho referenced the "indestructible bond between our people" that was forged by the construction of the Medina Lake Dam.

Robert Pachecano, who served as chairman for the ceremony committee, led a memorial observance for the estimated 70 laborers who lost their lives during dam construction. A wreath was placed in the water of the lake to honor their sacrifice.

The ceremony was originally scheduled to take place on the dam itself; however, due to safety and security concerns, foot traffic will never be allowed on the dam again. In response to that decision, historical plaques placed on the dam will be relocated to accessible areas.

See also the "Pictoral" for this event.


Pictured here: During the 100th Medina Lake Preservation Society President Gloria Villela Muñiz and Executive Director Carol Smith dedicated a wreath to the memory of those who lost their lives during the dam's construction. Before the wreath was consigned to lake waters, descendants of the laborers who had died touched it as a remembrance.