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Medina Dam, 1991 HCEL
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The Medina Dam, completed in 1912 was, at that time, the largest in Texas and the fourth largest in the United States. The entire irrigation project was the largest west of the Mississippi; the entire system was designed without the use of pumps, operating by gravity alone. The concrete gravity dam is an engineering application for which we can find evidence of as far back as the Egyptians of 5,000 years ago. The potential of the site was first recognized by Henri Castro, a French-born settler, upon founding his colony near San Antonio in 1844. However, funding efforts stagnated for decades until another San Antonio native, Clint H. Kearney, contacted Frederick Stark Pearson, an internationally recognized engineer who was able to obtain financing from British investors.

Owing to skillful design and project management, the project was completed in record time despite its remote location. It includes a diversion dam and system of irrigation canals which delivers water to 24,000 acres of farmland, and a lake, Lake Medina, which provides for outdoor recreation. The extraordinarily short time-frame of construction was made possible by the competency of the crushing and mixing process, the triple system of hoppers which kept materials always prepped and waiting, and the steep incline, which provided for rapid delivery.

Photo:  Larry D. Moore CC BY-SA 3.0

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