The Heritage Association of San Marcos has for 45 years worked to preserve our area’s heritage and history. In 2017 our organization took on the issue of the restoration of Cape’s Dam. At the time we stated that we were not going to play in the political or scientific parts of the issue but were going to advocate for restoration because of the historical significance of the Dam.
I feel compelled to once again point out that significance.
It was the lure of the river that brought indigenous cultures thousands of years ago to our area. That same lure drew people here as Western Expansion occurred in the 1800’s.
As the needs of society changed, the role of the river changed, and it took on a more industrial role. Dams were built because the need for lumber, milled grains and cotton gins increased with population increases.
We are not arguing whether this was good or bad. Now our beautiful river has morphed again from industrial to a recreational site and through the efforts of the Meadows Center a more natural environment.
With the help of Hays County and the Hays County Historical Commission, we have the chance to embrace all these aspects of the river.
And with restoration, the historical significance of the dam can be preserved, and a long overdue recreational area will be available on the east side of our community.
It really seems like a no brainer decision to me. I do feel that the controversy concerning the dam being built by slaves needs to be addressed.
We know from contract agreements, deeds and other documents filed with the Hays County Clerk that the dam and mill race were constructed in 1867. And yes, there more than likely were former slaves involved in the construction.
Truth is anything built in the decades after the Civil War would have the same claim. In no way does this take away from the historical significance of the site. In fact, it adds another layer of history that increases its importance. It is part of the story of our river that needs to be told. The lumber, cotton and other products created by the dams along the San Marcos river effected all portions of society by creating commerce and jobs.
This being said, we are asking that the San Marcos City Council please accept the agreement with Hays County. It is truly time that this issue be settled.
If you are interested in viewing primary documentation on the proposal, please visit https://capespark.com/ or watch the October 15th workshop video here: http://san-marcos-tx.granicus.com/player/clip/1410?view_id=9.
Heritage Association of San Marcos