History Toledo Bend Dam

The name Toledo Bend is familiar to sportsmen across the nation. But did you know that the lake, which separates Texas and Louisiana, was almost named Lake Texana for both states or Davis-Daniel Lake, in honor of the two Governors.
Toledo Bend was only the name of a bend on the Sabine for over 200 years. The Spaniards exploring the river saw the bend with its high bluffs, which reminded them of Toledo, Spain-their homeland.

The project is located in Louisiana and Texas on the Sabine River, which forms a portion of the boundary between the two states. From the dam site the reservoir extends up the river for about 65 miles. Each state set aside 15 million dollars and issued bonds for the same amount, a fund of 60 million dollars to be spent in buying 198,000 acres of land and in the building of the Toledo Bend Dam.

The dam consists of a rolled earth fill about 11,250 feet long (including saddle dikes) with a top width of 25 feet. The maximum height of the dam is about 112 feet, with the top of the dam at elevation 185.0. The up stream slope of the embankments is protected from erosion by soil-cement. The dam is nearly 9,000 feet long.

The over all length of the spillway structure is 838.0 feet and the flow of water over the concrete weir is controlled by eleven 40 by 28-foot tainter gates. Also contained in the spillway is water at 290,000 cubic feet per second (2,169,351 gallons per seconds.)

The Toledo Bend project was constructed by the Sabine River Authority of Louisiana and the Sabine River Authority of Texas, primarily for the purposes of water supply, hydroelectric power generation and recreation. Benefits applied to navigation as well because the project reduced sedimentation and attendant maintenance costs for the down-stream navigation channels in the Orange, Texas area.

The operation of the project for hydroelectric power generation and water supply provides a dependable yield of 1,430 million gallons per day, which is shared equally by Louisiana and Texas. Most of this water is passed through the turbines for the generation of electric power and is available for municipal, industrial, and agricultural purposes.

Toledo Bend is the largest man-made body of water in the South and the fifth largest in surface area, 196,000 acres, in the United States .

Toledo Bend was only a dream back in 1958. A dream that the people of Northwest La. and East Texas had found in their own backyard, something that could be more valuable to them than a gold mine; something that would continue to flow with wealth into their economically depressed area in greater values each succeeding year for generations to come.

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