The Wild and Rocky History of Lake Travis

As you may know, a Keep Austin Wet boat rental on Lake Travis is the ultimate Austin experience. This epic water haven is the perfect hotspot to celebrate with a party barge, cruise in style on a luxurious pontoon, or ride the wake with a surf/wake boat rental. You may not know that this Austin gem has a history as wild and rocky as the lake itself! Ready to find out what makes Lake Travis truly one of a kind? Read on!

Austin Underwater

Lake Travis is a man-made reservoir on the Colorado River. This well-known water attraction was born out of the necessity to control flood waters. As any seasoned Texan knows — central Texas is no stranger to flash floods. In fact, springtime flooding in the early 20th century was something that most Texas residents had grown to expect. What they didn’t know was that a particularly destructive flood in 1915 would claim the lives of dozens of residents and leave thousands of homes in shambles. Austin rebuilt, but there was an even more disastrous flood right around the corner.

The flood of 1935 proved to be a major turning point for Austin. Possibly the most financially devastating flood ever to hit this popular city wiped out many downtown businesses and left much of South Austin underwater. As the Congress Bridge became submerged and flood waters reached the Capitol steps, Austinites knew that something had to be done. Thus, the Lower Colorado River Authority was formed and plans for what’s now known as Mansfield Dam were put into place. 

The Dam Plans

The following year, building of the Shaker Plant began. The purpose of this facility was to separate rocks into different sizes that would then be transported to the dam. Construction became official in 1937, but not without another major blow. The project would get pushed back when another huge flood hit the area. The LCRA had to reevaluate its plans, eventually deciding that a higher dam would be necessary.  Finally, in 1941 the dam was completed and Lake Travis was formed… but not without leaving a large part of its history behind. While much of the Shaker Plant was shipped off to aid in other projects, the bones of the plant stayed behind — where they remain deep below the lake’s surface to this day.

Construction of Mansfield Dam, 1938

Lake Travis Boat Rentals 

Today, Lake Travis is the largest of all the Texas Highland Lakes. It is over 60 miles long with 271 miles of shoreline. Not only does it protect Austin from excessive flooding, but it’s also a water supply and a generator of electrical power. Plus, it is home to some of the best recreation in the state! No matter the occasion, Keep Austin Wet is the premier party boat rental in Lake Travis! Rent a boat today and be a part of Lake Travis history!

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