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When the Rains Came


As a young boy, during the drought of the 50’s, I remember walking across the dry Pedernales Riverbed from the Bowles Ranch to the Turner Ranch on the northwest side. The Pedernales and Colorado River downstream were completely dry except for a few pools of stagnant water. This was where the Pedernales ferry operated from 1944-1947. The ferry was the only way to Marble Falls before the bridge on Highway 71 was completed. The Ferry Road still exists and runs to the Pedernales River from the intersection of Briarcliff Road and Pace Bend Park Road. The ferry stopped operating in 1947.

My next memory is going back to the Ferry Crossing in the summer of 1957, as a teenager with my father Malcolm Bowles. Both crossings were under water, as well as a fishing camp at the end of Ferry Road.

It was 66 years ago this month that the rain started across Texas and did not stop

until June 1957. Texas streams and rivers were swollen from the Red River to the

Rio Grande. Austin’s South First Street was closed beyond St. Elmo Road due to

high water. Lazy little rivers like the Lampasas flooded the town of Lampasas

(shown above). The long drought of the 50’s was officially over.

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