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Collegeport Photographs
Photos courtesy of Mopac House Foundation

Collegeport Rice and Irrigation Company
Collegeport Irrigation Company built a pumping station on the Lower Colorado River to the East of the Collegeport area. Canals were constructed using mules and fresnos. The first year, rice crops were lost due to the system being incomplete. The second year, salt was was pumped from the river which damaged the crops. These canals were planned to be used for transportation, and high bridges were built over them to allow the passage of barges. However, in order to maintain water levels to achieve irrigation flows, checks or locks had to be built across the channels, thus making them unusable for transportation. The bridges were difficult to cross with the steel-wheeled steam engines, and were soon taken down. The pumps from this facility were used in an irrigation operation in the Rio Grande Valley.

Pumping plant under construction (above and below)
(picture taken from the north)



A Big Pumping Plant
Order Has Been Placed for the Machinery—Collegeport Canal to Water 20,000 Acres

Collegeport, Texas. October 15.—The Burton D. Hurd Land company, acting for the Collegeport Canal company, which is now being organized, have placed an order with the Erie City Iron Works of Erie, Pa., represented by Mr. H. A. Paine of their Houston office, for one of the largest pumping plants in the coast country. This plant will consist of five 36-inch centrifugal pumps, each having a capacity of 35,000 gallons per minute and each pump will be coupled to a compound condensing engine. The engines used in this plant are to be of the Poppet valve type and are manufactured under the Lentz (a German) patent. The pumps will be built by the Morris Machine Works, who have furnished a majority of the large pumps in this section of the rice belt.

Mr. Hurd has had large experience in the canal business, having organized and put in operation fourteen rice canals in Texas and Louisiana.

The Collegeport canal will furnish water for about 20,000 acres of land lying between the Colorado river and Palacios bay, and which was formerly a part of the Pierce cattle ranch. These lands are considered the finest in the coast country. The soil is very rich and the natural drainage is perfect. They are selling rapidly at from $50 to $75 per acre to the very best class of Northern farmers, who are now moving in and building homes and making other improvements of a high order. On this canal there will be planted in 1910 approximately 10,000 acres of rice. Mr. Paine states that there will be from 100 to 125 carloads of machinery and material required in the construction of the plant, and the cost approximately $100,000. The main canal will be twenty miles long with fifteen miles of laterals. The Colorado river will furnish the water supply, which is assured by a storage basin several miles long, made by the several channels near the mouth of the river.

Houston Post, October 18, 1909

Collegeport Canal Pumping Plant

Collegeport Pumping Plant--another view from the south
Machinery For Irrigating
Plant to Be Installed to Water 10,000 Acres.

Bay City, Texas, May 1.--Several carloads of machinery are on the track at Matagorda to be transported by barge up the Colorado river to the pumping site of the new Collegeport Canal company's irrigation system. This site is several miles from a railroad, and to facilitate the work of transporting the heavy machinery the channel of the river has been cleared of remnants of the old raft and is now navigable for large barges from the mouth to the pumping site, which is about ten miles below Bay City. The canal construction work on this irrigation system is now practically completed and it is expected that one part of the pumping plant, with a capacity to water 10,000 acres, will be installed in time to furnish water for the season's rice crop, of which there are about 4000 acres planted.

Houston Post, May 2, 1910


Field Work On Canal System
Near Collegeport Is Almost Finished by Surveyors

Bay City, Texas, May 28.--Civil Engineer E. W. Gustafson and his corps came in from Collegeport Saturday where they are employed in superintending the drainage and irrigation work for the Collegeport Canal company. They returned to work Wednesday and expect to finish up all the field work within the next week. This is an important piece of surveying and will do a great deal toward putting the land in that vicinity in a good condition for easy and profitable cultivation.

Houston Post, May 29, 1911

Photo courtesy of Ethel Nelson

Canal Pumping Plant Near Collegeport Tex.

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Jun. 28, 2006
Jun. 3, 2014