The waters from the Red River swelled and spilled over onto the land,
forming Bayou Pierre and Caddo, Wallace, Silver, Black, Soda, and Cross
A complex of Cross, Shifttail, Clear, and
Caddo Lakes, Soda Lake was in existence by 1806,
according to the journals from the Freeman and Curtis
expedition. No map depicts the lake until William
Darby’s 1816 map of Louisiana. In 1904 the Department
of the Interior determined the stumps in the lake bed to
be part of the hardwood forest in the valley of Cypress
Bayou, which existed before the lake did, and their
state of decay showed that the lake was not extremely
old. The trees on the shore were analyzed, as they grew
after the lake was formed, and these studies indicated
that the lake could not have existed prior to the 1700s.
One theory is that the Red River overflowed around the
upper Raft, causing the Big, Little, and Black Cypress
Rivers to back up and create Ferry Lake, which today is
Caddo Lake. The overflow of Caddo Lake then
created Soda Lake.
The lake, drained with the removal of the Red River
Raft, was about where Twelve Mile Bayou is today.
Silver Lake occupied part of Lake Street, but gradually
disappeared over time.
The U. S. Army Corps of
Engineers built Wallace Lake beginning in 1941. It was
not completed until 1946 because of World War II. The
lake was built to prevent flooding of farmland along
Bayou Pierre and Cypress Bayou. In 1838 the parish seat
was in the home of Thomas Wallace on this lake.
At 5:45 p.m. on January 10, 1954 a United Gas plane,
which was returning from a duck hunt in south Louisiana,
crashed into the north side of the lake. All twelve
people aboard the plane were killed: financier Justin R.
Querbes, Sr.; president of Interstate Electric Randolph
Querbes, Sr.; chairman of the board of Atlas Processing
Company J. B. Atkins, Sr.; Vice President of Goldring’s,
Inc. E. Bernard Weiss; oil man J. P. Evans; Thomas E.
Braniff of Dallas, Texas; Milton Weiss of Dallas, Texas;
Chris Abbott of Nebraska; Edgar Tobin of San Antonio,
Texas; and pilots W. C. Huddleston and Louis Schexnaidre
of Houma, Louisiana.
Cross Lake drained once the
Great Raft was removed, but it was recreated and used as
Shreveport’s water supply in 1926 once a dam was built
at the neck of Cross Bayou.
In April of 1989 the 1.6 mile bridge over Cross Lake
opened. The bridge has an unusual draining system in
that rain or spills will collect at the center of the
bridge and into a central pipeline. From there it goes
into a concrete holding pond, thus protecting the water
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