Friday, August 02, 2013

Just a few steps out of our region, but a GREAT swimming hole--Balmorhea


Just a couple of miles outside the boundaries of our Texas Mountain Trail region is a place many folks view as their gateway to the mountains--Balmorhea State Park
Turtles swimming at Balmorhea!
From the park's website:

"Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the early 1930s, the park was deeded in 1934 by private owners and Reeves County Water Improvement District No. 1. The park was opened in 1968.
San Solomon Springs have provided water for travelers for thousands of years. Artifacts indicate Indians used the springs extensively before white men came to the area. In 1849, the springs were called Mescalero Springs for the Mescalero Apache Indians who watered their horses along its banks. The present name was given by the first settlers, Mexican farmers who used the water for their crops and hand-dug the first irrigation canals.

Situated about four miles west of Balmorhea, Texas, the 45.9-acre Balmorhea State Park was constructed by Company 1856 of the Civilian Conservation Corps, or CCC, between 1936 and 1941. The CCC was established as a New Deal program by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Great Depression as a way to employ people who would have otherwise been out of work. Many of the state parks in Texas were developed during this time.

wetlands area at Balmorhea
Other CCC structures in the park include a limestone concession building, two wooden bathhouses, an adobe superintendent residence, and San Solomon Springs Courts, an early expression of the modern-day motel, constructed of adobe bricks. All of the CCC buildings are constructed in a Spanish Colonial style with stucco exteriors and tile roofs.

Visitors to Balmorhea State Park can enjoy a swim in the CCC-constructed pool and, if staying overnight, may choose to relax in one of the historic rooms at San Solomon Springs Courts. The lobby of the park office includes several photographs of the CCC at work in what is now Balmorhea State Park. When visiting the park, take time to see what the park property looked like in the late 1930s and what it looks like today."

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