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OT II

'Possum Kingdom Lake (popularly known as P.K.), is a reservoir on the Brazos River located primarily in Palo Pinto County Texas. It was the first water supply reservoir constructed in the Brazos River basin. The lake has an area of approximately 17,000 acres (69 km2) with 310 miles (500 km) of shoreline. It holds 750,000 acre feet (930,000,000 m3) of water with 550,000 acre feet (680,000,000 m3) available for water supply.[1]

Morris Sheppard Dam Possum Kingdom Lake, after the devastating wildfires

The lake is impounded by the Morris Sheppard Dam which was a project of the Brazos River Authority and the Works Progress Administration. Construction was begun in 1938 and completed in 1941. The dam is 2,700 feet (820 m) long and 190 feet (58 m) high.[2] The construction is unique with buttressed arched wings on either side of the nine spillway gates rather than the usual filled concrete.[3] It has two 11,250 kilowatt generators which are used during peak demand periods. Morris Sheppard was in 1938 one of Texas’ United States Senators. The dam was named for him in honor of his efforts in obtaining funding for the project.[4]

The lake is located where the Brazos River cuts through the Palo Pinto Hills.[5] The canyon thus formed provided a favorable site for impoundment of the reservoir and accounts for the unusual depth of the lake and the resulting clarity of the water.

The valley of the Brazos at this location was named Possum Kingdom by Ike Sablosky in the first decade of the 20th century. Sablosky was a businessman, a Russian Jewish immigrant who came to America at the age of 13. He arrived in Mineral Wells, Texas from Indianapolis in 1905. Sablosky was suffering from stomach trouble and believed he was dying. Mineral Wells was then nationally famous as a health spa and Sablosky offered an employee of one of the spa hotels ten cents a day for ten days to be allowed to drink all of the mineral water he wanted. The employee accepted and Sablosky claimed that within ten days his stomach problems were cured.



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