Lewisville Lake Gets its Name

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Construction began in 1948 to expand Garza-Little Elm Reservoir into the body of water now known as Lewisville Lake. As described in this 1976 newspaper report, naming of the new lake took a little longer to complete. The first signs bearing the name "Lewisville Lake" were posted in 1976, five years after the U.S. Corps of Engineers officially changed the name and 22 years after Congress passed a 1955 bill authored by Rep. Frank Ikard officially naming the dam "Lewisville Dam.”

 Lake by Any Other Name is Just as Wet
 Lewisville Daily Leader
 Wednesday, June 30, 1976
 LAKE DALLAS – Since the Lake Dallas City Council instructed its City Administrator Joe Yalenty to find out how and why the name of the lake was changed from Garza-Little Elm Reservoir to Lewisville Lake, there have been about as many different theories offered as there are fish in the lake in question.

Well, Yalenty finally discovered the answer through a letter from the lake’s resident engineer, Hassel L. Holder.

According to Holder’s letter, the name of the lake’s dam was Garza-Little Elm. Congressman Frank Ikard introduced a bill which became public law on Aug. 9, 1955, which changed the name of the dam to Lewisville Dam. The lake remained named Garza-Little Elm until April of 1971 when the Corps of Engineers policy, set on Feb. 11, 1971, changed the name.

The policy said, “The term ‘lake' be used in lieu of ‘dam’ unless the name of the body of water had been changed by separate legislation subsequent to the authorization of the project. In case of subsequent legislation, the name adopted by the legislation is used.”

In this way, the lake became officially Lewisville Lake. The question of why signs were only recently erected was also asked by Yalenty in his request. Holder said “The recent erection of signs bearing the name Lewisville Lake is a result of the 11 February 1971 policy.

“When the name of a lake changes, we are often not able to change signs immediately. The changing of signs can be expensive. Our policy is to change as the signs need replacing and as funds become available. This is the course we are following in this case.

“The signs could have been changed anytime after 23 April 1971, but funds were only recently available.” Holder went on to say any new action into changing the name again would be very controversial but in his opinion, the most appropriate action would be through Congress.

Public Law 329, HR 6102, August 9 1955 

Below are photos showing the construction of Lewisville Lake, provided by the U.S. Corps of Engineers, taken in 1952 and 1953. Notice the captions refer to the Garza-Little Elm Dam, which was assumed to be the name of the new dam until Ikard's bill was passed after the lake opened.

Lake Construction 1952b

 Lake Construction 1953