By David G. Barber
Often what you
find on the internet is very interesting. Sometimes it can be quite surprising.
If you look at the ACS Index pages for
In the early 1900’s, the federal government began a program to improve the river with 37 locks and dams. The locks were 50 feet wide by 140 feet long. The dams were of the moveable wicket type. The project was stopped by World War I after 7 locks and dams were built and made operable. Some of these can be found on Google Earth.
In the 1960’s, a new project was
planned on a larger scale with 84’ x 600’ locks. The index page indicates that
one lock was begun at
Imagine my surprise, when I happened to
look at the same site on Google Earth and found a complete lock and nearby dam
with buildings and parking lots with cars. A Google search on “Wallisville Dam”,
leads to a Galveston District, Corps of Engineers web page describing the
project and area history. The original project, which would have created a large
lake in the wetlands upstream was transformed after dismissal of the court order
into a salt water intrusion and tidal surge barrier. The lock also now serves as
a harbor of refuge from gulf hurricanes. I will be interested to learn how this
lock served during Hurricane Ike last year. What I do know is that the Corps of
Engineers’ Wallisville branch office, located at the lock, was in operation
immediately after the storm, while the main
While the plan for more locks upriver
has been abandoned, small boat navigation is possible up the river to
At the Wallisville Lock, there is also a visitor’s center. If you are passing through the area on I-10, this looks like an interesting stop.
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