About Lake Lewisville
In the 1920's Denton County was comprised of rural farm land, pastures, prairies, and woodland. The City of Dallas constructed the original lake, Lake Dallas, in the 1920's for water supply. W.E. Callahan Construction Company was hired, for 5 million dollars, to build a dam on the Elm Fork of the Trinity River. The dam was completed in 1927, ran 10,890 feet, and had a 567 foot long spillway. The normal elevation was 515 feet. The lake, with its 194,000 acre-foot capacity and 43 miles of shoreline, served as the principal water source for the City of Dallas for 31 years. The location of the original dam can be seen in the picture below:
From the 1920's to the 1940's a small bay called Nix's Slough was the most popular fishing spot on the lake. During WWII wooden boats with oars were common as there were no motors allowed on the lake except for Coast Guard which had a training camp in Tower
Bay. The old state fish hatchery which has now been under water for over 40 years, was located at the North Western side of the dam.
In need of increased water storage capacity the Galveston District of the US Army Corps of Engineers began construction of the Garza-Little Elm Dam in 1948. The cities of Dallas and Denton both contributed funds for the construction (which cost $23.4 million) and own most of the water to this day. The dam was completed in 1955 and later renamed Lewisville Lake (from Garza-Little Elm Lake). The new dam is 32,888 feet long and is constructed of compacted soil. A 560-foot uncontrolled spillway sits at the eastern end of the dam and gates allow controlled releases of water downstream. In 1957 lake Dallas's dam was breached, at what is now called the Hundley Cut, and the two lakes combined. This new lake has one hundred eighty-three miles of shoreline and a 436,000 acre-foot capacity.
Garza-Little Elm Lake was named so because the lake was built in the location of these towns which had to re-locate.
During construction the Corps of Engineers stumbled upon an archaeological site. Carbon dating on artifacts from the site, including a Paleo-Indian Clovis projectile point, indicated that humans had lived there c. 36,000bp. It was not until 1978 that the water levels of the lake would go down far enough to access the site once again. Between 1978 and 1980, a more thorough analysis of the site was performed. It was concluded that the original dating was probably due to a rare form of cross-contamination and that a date of c. 12,000 B.P. was more correct. Still, the site is considered one of the earliest inhabited by humans in the Southwestern United States and Mexico.
Construction of the new dam can be seen in the photos below:
Now Lewisville Lake is surrounded by 9,000 protected acres of nature, spans 29,000 acres, and has 233 miles of shoreline. It has an average depth of 25 feet and is immensely popular for water sports and outdoor recreation in the Dallas area. Lewisville lake fulfills a variety of needs including flood control and water conservation. The operation of Lewisville Lake was modified in 1988 as part of the construction of Ray Roberts Lake, upstream of Lewisville Lake, resulting in a permanent increase of the conservation pool elevation from 515 feet msl to the current 522 feet. In 1991, the city of Denton installed a hydropower facility at Lewisville Dam capable of producing 2893 kilowatts.
Lewisville Lake Recreation includes fishing, swimming, water skiing, jet skiing, sailing, sail boarding, camping, biking and picnicking and Lewisville lake is popular throughout the year. There are six marinas and two restaurants on the lake.
Lake Lewisville Statistics:
Location: On the Elm Fork of the Trinity River in Denton County near Lewisville
Water Fluctuation: 4-8 feet annually
Conservation Pool Elevation: 522 feet
Shoreline: 233 miles
Land Conservation: 9,000 protected acres
Power Generation: 2893 kilowatts
Dam Length: 32,888 feet
Spillway Length: 560 feet
Capacity: 436,000 acre-foot
Aquatic Vegetation: pondweed
Predominant Fish Species: Largemouth bass, Spotted bass, White & hybrid striped bass, White crappie, Blue & channel catfish.
US Army Corps of Engineers