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Parish Lakes

         The waters from the Red River swelled and spilled over onto the land, forming Bayou Pierre and Caddo, Wallace, Silver, Black, Soda, and Cross Lakes. 1

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. 2 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 known as Caddo Lake. The overflow of Caddo Lake then created Soda Lake. 3 The lake, drained with the removal of the Red River Raft, was about where Twelve Mile Bayou is today. 4 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. 5 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. 6

Text Box: Cross Lake
            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. 7 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 supply. 8



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Parish of Caddo 2004©

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