LAKE WACO. Lake Waco is an artificial lake on the northwestern edge of the Waco city limits in central McLennan County. Construction of the original Waco Dam began in 1928 and was completed in 1929 at a cost of $2,500,000. The project was owned and operated by the City of Waco. The completed dam was 4,700 feet long and sixty-five feet high and had a spillway elevation of 430 feet. The lake was fed by the North and South Bosque rivers and had a surface area of 2,742 acres. Originally the lake's normal storage capacity was 39,378 acre-feet, but by the mid-1940s the accumulation of sediments had reduced its capacity to 22,030 acre-feet. Through the cooperation of the Fort Worth division of the United States Army Corps of Engineers and the Brazos River Authority, a new dam project was begun in June 1958 and was completed in June 1965. The new Waco Dam (at 31°35' N, 97°12' W) was an earthfill structure, 24,618 feet long and 140 feet high, with a concrete spillway 560 feet wide. The new lake covered 19,440 acres, completely submerging the old lake. Its normal storage capacity was 152,500 acre-feet, although at maximum flood stage the lake could hold as much as 834,300 acre-feet. The drainage area above the dam was 1,670 square miles. The lake was used for recreation, municipal purposes, and for flood control and conservation.

C. L. Dowell, Dams and Reservoirs in Texas: History and Descriptive Information (Texas Water Commission Bulletin 6408 [Austin, 1964]). Dayton Kelley, ed., The Handbook of Waco and McLennan County, Texas (Waco: Texian, 1972).

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Handbook of Texas Online, "LAKE WACO," accessed October 21, 2018,

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

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