Home News THC puts pause on Cape’s Dam removal

THC puts pause on Cape’s Dam removal

File photo of Cape's Dam

The determination of Cape’s Dam removal that sparked conflict between the City of San Marcos, local residents and the San Marcos River Foundation has emerged back into discussion after receiving a letter from Texas Historical Commission.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife were scheduled to remove the 150-year-old dam within the upcoming months, but THC is now requiring to pursue further studies to dictate the removal.

The Texas Historical Commission sent a letter to Mike Montague, Project leader for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stating their belief that “the property retains sufficient historic integrity and remains eligible for listing in the National Register, with the dam, mill race, waste ways and wheel pit each considered contributing features.”

Staff from the History Programs Division, the Division of Architecture and the Archaeology Division have completed a review of the proposed project to insinuate the historic significance of the dam.

The Archaeology Division staff determined “the level of archaeology investigation that will be required in areas that will be affected by the proposed project. Additional information is necessary regarding the anticipated direct and indirect effects of dewatering the mill race channel including bank erosion and instability due to loss of vegetation, etc. We also need detailed information regarding the location of additional project impacts such as proposed points of ingress and egress, grading, plantings, vegetation/tree removal etc. At a minimum we anticipate the need for archaeology survey along the mill race.”

The mill race and Thompson’s Island is formed by Capes Dam and provides a recreational area for residents and tourists to enjoy kayaking, canoeing and fishing. Members from the Save the San Marcos River organization sought signatures for a petition to stop the removal process.

THC’s request to continue further research on the historical aspect sheds hope back into citizens who treasure this area of water.


  1. This headline is quite inaccurate!! The Texas Historical Commision did nothing of the sort. It simply affirmed the historic relevance of the area and outlined ways that the THC needs to be involved in the process of planning the dam removal, in order to assess and mitigate any possible adverse effects. It was the City Council, in response to citizens’ concerns, which made the decision to do further studies on the possibilities for the mill race once the dam is removed. Accurate reporting is important; inaccuracies have real consequences. Please be careful.

  2. Really? Was there a rep from the Star even present at the last Council meeting? I was there and it is City Council that is slowing the process, not the THC. Get your facts straight before you report on this issue.

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