Lake Plainview was constructed in 1913 within the city limits of Plainview in Hale County by the Texas Land and Development Company to promote the sale of irrigated farms developed by the company. The idea, which originated with Harry J. Miller, company president from 1912 to 1916, called for the installation of an irrigation well within sight of the Santa Fe railroad depot. As rail passengers arrived, they would be able to view the well in operation. The company purchased a thirty-acre tract adjacent to the depot to hold the pumped water. Construction began on March 20, 1913. Workers built a concrete levee around the site and ringed it with a gravel road, installed concrete walks and outdoor lights, and planted grass, shrubs, trees, and flowers along the walks. The pump began filling the lake in May 1913, and on July 1 the lake reached its capacity. When full it was five to six feet deep and was the largest body of water in Texas supplied by a well. To make the lake a more interesting attraction, the company imported several types of exotic birds, including Indian cranes, white and black swans, peacocks, and sheldrakes, and stocked the lake with catfish and bass. In addition to its promotional features, Lake Plainview provided residents of the area with a number of diversions, including boating, swimming, picnicking, sightseeing, and occasionally ice skating. Concerts were provided from a bandstand placed in the middle of the lake. The costs of fuel, equipment, and maintenance soon outweighed the benefits. A fire on June 17, 1917, destroyed the wellhouse and ended the venture.
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Billy Ray Brunson, The Texas Land and Development Company (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1970). Mary L. Cox, History of Hale County, Texas (Plainview, Texas, 1937).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
C. Gwin Morris,
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed August 15, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
February 1, 1995