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Historical marker OK’d for Buchanan Dam

Buchanan Dam on Lake Buchanan

At 145.5 feet high and almost 2 miles long. Buchanan Dam is the largest of the dams that form the chain of Highland Lakes. It is also one of the longest multiple-arch dams in the world. The Texas Historical Commission recently approved a historical marker for the structure. Courtesy photo

A historical marker for the dam that forms Lake Buchanan has been approved by the Texas Historical Commission, announced Burnet County Historical Commission President Rachel Bryson at an Aug. 1 meeting in the Herman Brown Free Library. Llano County is also expected to be granted a marker, as the dam crosses county lines. 

Buchanan Dam is one of the longest multiple-arch dams in the world. Construction began in 1931 and, after economic troubles during the Great Depression, was completed in 1938. The dam was named for U.S. Rep. James P. Buchanan, who helped obtain federal funding for the project through the Public Works Administration. 

A joint unveiling with Llano County is planned but could be a year or more away, Bryson said. 

“It’s a long process, but we are getting it,” she told 

Both markers will be close to the dam, which has not been open to the public since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2011. Burnet County’s marker will stand on the Texas 29 pedestrian bridge, which also strides the Burnet-Llano county line. 

Once approval was received from the Texas Historical Commission on July 21, the local commission and the Burnet County Commissioners Court had until Sept. 15 to approve the money for the initial fee. The $2,300 expenditure comes out of the county historical commission’s budget. 

Burnet County commissioners gave their stamp of approval at a regular meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 8. 

“Now, the Texas Historical Commission will start working on the verbiage to go on the marker,” Bryson said. “Then, it starts going back and forth between us until we all agree on the content.” 

The marker will be the biggest available at 27 inches by 42 inches and displayed on a post.