This past year, Texas has undergone its driest year yet with 8.5 inches of rain, which is 13 inches less than usual, through the month of September. This drought has caused the state’s lakes to deplete and in some cases reveal pieces of history long forgotten.
One of the state’s largest lakes, Lake Buchanan, is the site for the lost grave of Johnny C. Parks who died October 15, 1882, two days before his first birthday. The tombstone is usually covered by 20 to 30 feet of water but the drought has brought the lake down considerably.
Across the state other lakes have also evaporated slowly and revealed other artifacts. Some have been found to contain ancient tools, fossils, and one houses a small cemetery. There was even a prehistoric skull found in one lake. The discoveries have attracted several historians and even more looters looking for something to sell.
Falcon Lake, a body of water straddling the border of Texas and Mexico, was also affected by the drought. It also revealed something prominent: a century-old church. From Lake Texoma, a manmade body formed from the damming of Red River, revealed the lost buildings of Woodville, OK, a town that was flooded in 1944.
One couple, Steven Standke and wife Carol, travelled out to see the phenomena for themselves. According to them, their GPS labeled the path they drove as the middle of a very large lake and not a road.
Old Bluffton, located where Lake Buchanan now resides, has been temporarily exposed in the past with other droughts. During those times, the foundations of an old two-story hotel have been seen, along with a rusting tank and scales of an old cotton gin.
Lake Whitney has seen countless looters arrested for trying to acquire the artifacts revealed by the depleting water sources. In this lake, Native American tools and fossils that experts believe to be thousands of years old were found.
Lake Georgetown claims prominence with the discovery of an American Indian skull buried for what seems hundreds or thousands of years. No word yet on what is to become of the skull.