A Tale of Three Rivers: Before the Dam

Choke Canyon Reservoir it is a Texas State Park and a popular fishing and birding spot for San Antonio and Corpus Christi tourists. The reservoir formed when the Texas Water Development Board approved the construction of the Choke Canyon Dam on the Frio River, a major tributary of the Nueces River. Three Rivers, named for the Frio, Nueces, and Atascosa rivers meeting, is home to the development office that manages the rivers. However, the 25,438 square acres of land weren’t always submerged. The Frio River once ran uncontested through the heart of the current reservoir. It’s not something you tend to think about unless you were there before the dam was built, and during the 1970s, Texas was quite busy damming rivers. Thanks to a map by Fenner, a Texas surveyor in the 1910s and 1920s, and the preservation efforts by the Mary and Jeff Bell Library and Conrad Blucher Institute, we’ve rediscovered the path of the Frio River as it passed from McMullen County, Texas to Live Oak County, Texas. Check out the historic map and a Map generated from the TXGLO GIS Viewer of the same area today!

Map 1: Map of Land Belonging to J.T. Brown et. al.

Map 2: Old Frio River Path along Hely and Turner Lands