History

Were it Not for Water: The Driving Force Behind San Saba’s Appealing Parks

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Abundant water was required for survival back in the day, and the town of San Saba’s establishment was no exception to this rule. Springs just east of its square, together with the Colorado and San Saba Rivers, ensured that settlement there was a good choice, and it didn’t take long before it began to grow. Eventually, more creative minds came up with concepts on how to take advantage of this natural, wonderful resource that would benefit everyone, which turned out to be a blessing not only for everyday use but also for the advent of leisure time and eventual water pastimes. Fast-forward to present-day San Saba, and your appreciation for parks and recreation in the Texas Hill Country will take on a whole new meaning!

Were it Not for Water: The Driving Force Behind San Saba’s Appealing Parks

Photo: Facebook/Tammy Parsons Homerstad

The first development came in the form of a dam, which was proposed by E.E. Risien and erected in 1883. For 18 years, the dam (which created a five-foot waterfall) in conjunction with a water wheel and plunger pump supplied water to San Saba’s downtown, negating the power for the flour mill, a saw mill, and a cotton gin – progressive developments that would become a foundation for the town’s economy, and to this day, would be recognized as Mill Pond. Add to that the construction of access by rail in 1911 and road construction in the 1920s (both of which passed between the river and Mill Pond) and you have a recipe for growth. By the time more modern technologies worked their magic and brought water to farms and homes, water’s availability began to appeal in more recreational concepts, and in the 1930s, a pool on the river’s edge complete with a diving board and a swing were constructed on the Risien’s property by their son, Guy.

Were it Not for Water: The Driving Force Behind San Saba’s Appealing Parks
Photo: Facebook/Paul Grubbs

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