Heidi M. Martin

LAKE SWEETWATER. Lake Sweetwater was constructed near the town of Sweetwater in northeastern Nolan County by damming Bitter Creek in 1929 at a cost of about $450,000. The lake capacity is 4.5 billion gallons. The dam is 350 feet wide at its base and seventy feet high at its highest point, with a twenty-foot roadway across its top. The widest distance across the lake is about 7,000 feet, and when it is full it covers about 760 acres. The lake is owned and operated by the city of Sweetwater. The nearby lookout, clubhouse, and golf course were built by 200 Civilian Conservation Corps workers. Later a paved road was built around the lake. In 1934 the lake area below the dam had an open amphitheater, two fish hatcheries, and a baseball field. Above the dam was a rock clubhouse (which in the 1980s still stood but was vacant), a boat pier, a nine-hole golf course, and a suspension footbridge over the lake. Around the water's edge are a fishing pier, the lookout house, picnic units, camping areas, gravel walkways, and rock bridges. In 1934 city officials reported that the lake could withstand the demands of a five-year drought without replenishment. Time has shown this report to be accurate, though no serious drought has threatened the area since. Flintkote and U. S. Gypsum, two significant industries in Sweetwater, have been built since the construction of the lake on the southeast side of town.

E. L. Yeats and Hooper Shelton, History of Nolan County (Sweetwater, Texas: Shelton, 1975).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to:

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Heidi M. Martin, "LAKE SWEETWATER," accessed November 19, 2018,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Get this week's most popular Handbook of Texas articles delivered straight to your inbox