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Rivers, Rockets and Readiness: Army Engineers in the Sunbelt

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This book owes its existence to the decision of the United States Army, Corps of Engineers, to have official histories written of the thirty-eight districts in the country. The Corps regarded these histories as appropriate projects for the nations two hundredth birthday in 1976. Several had already been published when the Fort Worth District commissioned its history in 1977. So as to establish manageable dates for the project, the District requested a history through 1975, its first quarter-century of existence. The bicentennial was a propitious time to begin a history of the District. Texas had become a leading state in the Union, ranking third in population and eighth in value added by manufacturing. The latter was particularly impressive since the state has primarily been a source of raw materials. Growth and expansion had, therefore, characterized Texas since the Fort Worth District went into operation in April, 1950. It was not entirely coincidental that the two grew simultaneously because the Corps of Engineers was the federal agency responsible for water development and flood control in the Lone Star state. Shortage of water had plagued the state since the beginning of settlement in the early nineteenth century. Texas was an agrarian state at the beginning of the twentieth century, and although the discovery of oil in 1901 spurred her industrial development, she was still an agrarian state on the eve of World War II. But the war acted as an economic catalyst, for the area became a prime location for military posts and defense industries. Maintenance of a large defense since the war continued the flow of federal dollars into the state, and since the Fort Worth District also had responsibility for military construction not only in Texas but also in Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and New Mexico, it played a leading role in the growth of the Southwest.

Subject Categories:

  • Humanities and History
  • Hydrology, Limnology and Potamology
  • Civil Engineering
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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