Sabine County, Texas-

Even if they weren't all cousins, they were kindred spirits. The "What Went Under" Toledo Bend sparked huge interest over the past several months as planning came together to share the personal history of one of the largest man made structures in the south. As the newly built dam began to fill the power generating reservoir with water at a rate more quickly than anticipated, families rushed to save homes and property by moving to higher ground. 

Attached is some great footage of this year's event.

In April, 1964, construction of dam, spillway, power plant and Pendleton Bridge was initiated, and by October, 1966, water impoundment had begun. 

Toledo Bend Reservoir had filled with water by late spring of 1969, and the power plant had begun operations.

On Oct. 22, 2011 more than 270 past and present residents of Sabine County, and Sabine Parish began arriving at the first "What Went Under?" reunion. Local historian Weldon McDaniel displayed 500 never before seen photos. The event was an old fashion dinner on the ground, and lots of story telling of days gone by. "There's more photos to come courtesy of the Sabine River Authority," McDaniel said. When the SRA purchased the property photos were taken of every home, fence, outhouse, barn, pen, located on the land.  "What inspired us to hold this reunion was a little book written by A.A. McGraw, titled What Went Under?  McGraw was a lifelong resident of Sabine County, and wrote his memories down to share with his children, and their descendants. 

And that is exactly what his son, Terry McGraw has done. He recently created a social media group, that has quickly grown as family members reminisce about a simpler time. 

Toledo Bend Reservoir

1949 Sabine River Authority of Texas was established by Texas Legislature.

1950 Sabine River Authority of Louisiana was established by Louisiana. Legislature.

1955 Memorandum of Agreement for the development of the Sabine River.

1956 after several meetings Toledo Bend dam and Reservoir agreement was reached.

1963 land acquisition began in May.

1964 construction of dam, spillway, power plant and Pendleton Bridge was initiated in April.

1966 impoundment of water began in October.

1969 reservoir filled by late spring and the power plant began operations.

Purpose of the Toledo Bend Reservoir Project when proposed

Flood control

Future water supply

Hydro-electric power generation

Recreation-parks agreed on in 1956


Location-Texas/Louisiana border


Primary Inflow-Sabine River

Primary Outflow-Sabine River

Maximum Length- 65 miles

Maximum Width-10 miles

Surface Acres- 197,000 acres

Average Depth-60 Feet

maximum Depth-110 Feet

Water volume at 172 Foot Elevation-4,477,000 acre ft.

Water Volume Above Pool Level-5,097,000 acre ft.

Shoreline Length-1264 miles

Surface Elevation 172 ft

Maximum Water Surface Elevation 173 ft

Total Surface Acres in Sabine County-54,717

Drainage Area Above Toledo Bend Dam-7,190 square miles

Total Sabine river Drainage Area-9,700 square miles

Average annual rainfall-45.5 inches

Lowest recorded rainfall-32.2 inches in 1936

Highest Recorded Rainfall 74.31 inches in 1975


Embankment Length-11,250 feet

Height Above stream Bed-112 feet

Elevation Above Crown-185 feet

Width of Crown-25 Feet

Power Plant

Two Kaplan Vertical Shaft Generators

Two Umbrella Type Generators

Power Capability-86,000 Kilowatts


Overall Length-838 Feet

Control of Spillway-Eleven 40 ft by 28 ft Tainter Gates

Elevation-Top of Gates Closed 173 Feet

Maximum Discharge Capacity of Spillway-2,169,351 gallons per second.

Information provided by the Sabine County History Center


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