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A nice place to settle

deer standing at the edge of the lakeA dependable water source, abundant fish and game, and the area’s natural beauty combined to make this an inviting location.

Some of the first people here were prehistoric peoples, who lived and worked along the banks of the Colorado River about 8,000 years ago. Later, Apache and Comanche Indians ranged throughout the Hill Country.

After Texas became a state, settlers began moving into the area. These settlers operated small farms or raised livestock. The main industry was livestock:  cattle, sheep and goats.

Rampaging river

The Colorado River is the largest river entirely within the state of Texas. It travels 862 miles; almost 600 billion gallons of water flow in a typical year. With the steep slopes and thin, rocky soils of the area, the river flooded frequently and with devastating results.

The river was as much a danger as a blessing for nearby residents.

The Lower Colorado River Authority built a series of six dams to help control the river. Inks Lake is second lake in the series. Two dams form its boundaries – Buchanan Dan to the north and Inks Dam to the south.

Dam construction provided needed work for local farmers and ranchers at the height of the Great Depression.

Lakeside park

As part of the Colorado River improvements, the state legislature ordered the creation of a park on the new lake. The state parks board acquired about 1,200 acres for Inks Lake State Park in 1940. The National Park Service planned the park’s improvements, with construction by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Civilian Conservation Corps

historic photo of flag-raising ceremony
Lyndon B. Johnson at a flag-raising ceremony with CCC men in 1939.

Imagine yourself with little food, less money and no job. This was the case for many Americans during the Great Depression.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1933. The CCC provided jobs and job skills by hiring young men to work on conservation projects. The program enrolled men between the ages of 17 and 25 who qualified for public assistance. They earned clothing, food, medical care and $30 a month; they sent most of their pay home to their families.

Inks Lake State Park

CCC Company 854 was already in the area. Work on Longhorn Cavern State Park had begun in 1932 and finished in October of 1940. The men had also built a scenic parkway, complete with bridges and culverts made of local materials, to connect that park to nearby roadways.

The company immediately began its next assignment:  building facilities at Inks Lake State Park and extending the scenic parkway from Longhorn Cavern to Inks Lake.

With the approach of World War II, funding for the CCC dried up, and the Inks Lake CCC camp was abandoned 1942. Only remnants of their work remain in the park today.

The State Parks Board oversaw final construction of the park, and it opened in 1950.

Find more information about the history of Inks Lake State Park and the local area: