On this day in 1933, the United States and Mexico signed the Rio Grande Rectification Treaty, which called for construction of a 590-foot-wide floodway and 66-foot-wide normal flow channel along a stretch of the river from Cordova Island to below Fort Quitman. The agreement became necessary after the 1916 completion of Elephant Butte Dam near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. Assuring water for irrigation, Elephant Butte also kept the stream from flooding and cleaning its own channel. The bed filled with silt, and uncontrolled wanderings not only wasted water but destroyed crops and shifted the international boundary. When little water flowed through the river the channel still marked the border, but that line became more and more difficult to find. The agreement made the international boundary the middle of the deepest channel of the Rio Grande within the rectified channel. The project was completed in 1938 at a cost of $5 million, 88 percent of which the United States paid. The International Boundary Commission, later renamed the International Boundary and Water Commission, was given responsibility for its construction and maintenance.
On this day in 1971, William John Marsh, the composer of "Texas, Our Texas," died in Fort Worth. Marsh, an Englishman, moved to Texas in 1904 and became a United States citizen in 1917. He taught composition, theory, and organ at Texas Christian University and published more than 100 pieces. His projects included anthems, pageants, masses, and reportedly the first opera, The Flower Fair at Peking (1931), to be composed and produced in Texas. He was also chairman of the Composer's Guild of the Texas Federation of Music Clubs. But his greatest claim to fame was the song “Texas, Our Texas.” He composed the music in 1924 to lyrics that he cowrote with Gladys Yoakum Wright. Their entry won a statewide contest and was officially adopted as the state song in 1929. John Philip Sousa extolled the piece as the finest state song he had ever heard.
On this date in 1882, building commissioners Nimrod Norton and Joseph Lee turned the first shovelful of dirt for the present Texas Capitol. Construction was financed by the sale of three million acres of public land in the Panhandle, under the auspices of the XIT Ranch. The main building material is red granite from Marble Mountain, west of Austin. The Renaissance Revival structure, for which the Capitol in Washington was the model, was dedicated in 1888. The total cost was $3.75 million. The cost of restoration in the 1990s was $200 million.