A Landing a Day

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Buchanan Dam, Texas

Posted by graywacke on September 26, 2019

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-a-week blog), I use an app that provides a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”

I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town or towns I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location. 

To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some relatively recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2458; A Landing A Day blog post number 894.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (N30o 44.836’, W98o 22.062’) puts me in central Texas:

Here’s my very local landing map:

FYI, Buchanan Dam is both a dam and a community.

I’ll zoom back a bit to show you the VP* of small towns in the general vicinity:

*veritable plethora

I’ll zoom back a bit more to show you that I landed in the greater Austin area (Austin is about 50 miles away):

There’s no need for a streams-only map.  Look back up at my very local map and you’ll see that I landed adjacent to the Colorado River (of Texas, 31st hit).

But I actually landed on a dammed-up portion of the Colorado River, Inks Lake.  Here’s a Google Earth (GE) overview:

The town of Buchanan Dam is the built-up area directly south of the dam.  And (obviously), more about Reverend Jim’s in a bit.

Staying with GE.  As you might expect, I was able to put the Orange Dude pretty close to my landing.  However, there are trees in the way of a direct view, so I thought I’d show you all the little dirt road you’d take to get to my landing:

Here’s what the OD sees:

And there’s a bridge over Inks Lake close to my landing:

Which gave the OD a view of the Buchanan Dam:

Both the Buchanan Dam and the Inks Dam were built in the 1930s.  There’s more of a story behind the Buchanan Dam (from Wiki):

The Buchanan Dam is a multiple arch dam located on the Colorado River of Texas. The dam forms Lake Buchanan and was the first dam to be completed in the chain of Texas Highland Lakes. The dam is used for generating hydroelectric power and for flood control.

Construction of the then-named George W. Hamilton Dam [more about George in a bit] was started in 1931 by a public utility holding company, but soon ended with the dam less than half completed when the company collapsed during the Great Depression. In 1934, the Texas legislature authorized the formation of the Lower Colorado River Authority to complete the Hamilton dam.

Following completion in 1937, the dam was renamed for U.S. Representative James P. Buchanan, who helped obtain federal funding for the project from the Public Works Administration.

Here’s another shot of the dam, this one by Roger Coughlin, posted on Google Earth (GE):

So who was this George Hamilton guy?  Well, first off, he wasn’t this George Hamilton:

For those of my readers who don’t know who the above is, he is an actor, with quite the body of movies & TV work, mainly from the 1960s through early 2000s.

But I will guess that none of my readers know of the George W. Hamilton for whom the dam was initially named. 

Surprisingly, there is no Wikipedia for GWH.  But there I a book on Amazon about him:

The book was named to the list of top history books for 2018 by Amazon Book Review editor, Chris Schleup.  Here’s Amazon’s blurb:

In its list of the “Top 10 Badass Marines,” Leatherneck magazine declared that Major George W. Hamilton “never asked anyone to do anything he wasn’t prepared to do himself…and do better.”

Indeed, the author of A History of the United States Marine Corps once called Hamilton “the most outstanding Marine Corps hero in World War I.” A leader of the first major American assault on June 6, 1918, and the last ranking officer in the American Expeditionary Forces to learn that the war was over, Hamilton remained in the thick of the fighting from start to finish.

Although he earned the Distinguished Service Cross, the Navy Cross, the Croix de Guerre, and two Medal of Honor recommendations for his service, Hamilton’s fame stalled when he died prematurely in 1922. With this first complete biography, Hamilton takes his rightful place among the first rank of American military heroes.

I found a 2018 article about GWH in (of all thing) Investor’s Business Daily by Michael Mink.  Here are a few excerpts:

As a captain and company commander, he was part of the first major American assault, the Battle of Belleau Wood, in June 1918.

As Hamilton witnessed his officers and men being shot and killed all around him, he decided bold action was the best course. Hamilton “ran up and down his line under severe fire, leading his men forward and urging them on by cheering and similar efforts. … at great personal exposure Capt. Hamilton displayed a quality of extraordinary heroism,” wrote Col. Wendell Neville in recommending Hamilton for the Medal of Honor.

The objective of the battle was to capture the woods and clear it of German soldiers. The terrain was an open wheat field leading to a 200-acre forest 53 miles northeast of Paris.

In the dawn hours, Hamilton led his company as they crawled through a hail of machine-gun fire from an enemy lying in wait in trenches. A thousand Marines died on the first day.

“It was every man for himself, kill or be killed,” Mortensen wrote. “There is no better example of this than Capt. Hamilton killing four Germans in hand-to-hand combat in one wild rush. He was leading from the front.

“The Marines’ continuous charge was unlike anything the Germans had ever faced or imagined. Their determination to advance under horrific conditions, using all means available including bayonets and hand-to-hand combat, gave the Germans reason to call the Marines ‘Teufel Hunden,’ translated to ‘Devil Dog.’ ”

From the same article, about “The Final Battle:”

On the night of Nov. 10, 1918, Hamilton commanded two battalions of some 2,230 men, crossing the Meuse River. They were part of an Allied effort to sever the railway network supporting the German Army in France.

A painting titled “The Last Night of the War” by Frederick C. Yohn, captures the moment. It depicts Hamilton “leading a battalion of Marines across a pontoon bridge over the Meuse under heavy artillery and machine-gun fire in an effort to establish a beachhead,” Mortensen wrote.

[OK, OK, so I don’t really see the pontoon bridge.]

The next day, Nov. 11, 1918, the armistice was signed ending World War I. America had lost over 53,000 men in combat, and this year marks the armistice’s 100th anniversary.

After beating the odds by surviving horrendous clashes, Hamilton died piloting an airplane in 1922, when it crashed in Gettysburg during a re-enactment of the Civil War battle showcasing the technology of the day.

Quite the hero.  Every time I read about WW I (or II), I simply cannot fathom what our men went through . . .

Sorry James P. Buchanan, Texas congressman who secured funding for the completion of the dam, but my vote is squarely with Mr. Hamilton.

As noted in the GE shot near the beginning of this post, I happened to stumble on a bar/restaurant in Buchanan Dam with a dam catchy name:  “Reverend Jim’s Dam Pub.”

I love it when a restaurant has a limited menu, with the underlying presumption being that with only a few menu items, the food will be dam good.  Well, here ya go:

 

Want something else?  Go somewhere else!

Want live music?  Go to Reverend Jim’s:

I’ll close with a couple of Alexander Buchanan Lake shots post on GE.  First this, by Marco Esquivel:

And then this, by Jordan Young:

That’ll do it . . .

KS

Greg

 

© 2019 A Landing A Day

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