Texas Geography and Nature

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Red Water, Black Gold: The Canadian River in Western Texas, 1920–1999

Original Price
19.99
ISBN
9781625110022
Binding
Paperback
By
Margaret A. Bickers
Red Water, Black Gold: The Canadian River in Texas 1920–1999 tells the story of the Canadian River in the Texas Panhandle. It is a tale of grand designs, high hopes, deep holes, politics, fishing, follies, foibles, and environmental change. Although efforts had been made to tap the Canadian River’s waters before 1920, the discovery of oil in the Panhandle gave new urgency to the search for permanent water supplies. Additionally, the spread of groundwater irrigation amid the discovery of the limits of Ogallala Aquifer spurred regional interests to tap the Canadian. But overestimates of the river’s flow and unfamiliarity with the critical role groundwater played in maintaining that flow led to complications and frustrations, culminating in a lawsuit over the location of the banks of a seemingly waterless river. This book is a valuable addition to the water history of Texas and the American West and to the growing body of worldwide regional water histories. Combining traditional historical sources with hydrology, climatology, and geology, Red Water, Black Gold complicates the traditional story of top-down water management as well as telling the thus-far untold story of the Canadian River in Texas.
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Road, River, and Ol’ Boy Politics: A Texas County’s Path from Farm to Supersuburb

Original Price
22.9
ISBN
9780876112359
Binding
Paperback
By
Linda Scarbrough
In 1946, Williamson County, Texas, was profoundly rural. Reflecting the Democratic Party represented in Congress by Lyndon Baines Johnson, the county was based on an isolated agricultural economy and contained a rich brew of ethnic groups and cultures. Half a century later, Williamson County was one of the five fastest growing counties in the United States, a staunchly Republican homogeneous supersuburb north of Austin whose economy depended on the global market for computers and other high-technology products. How did this radical transformation occur?It came about largely through the machinations of a handful of local political and economic "bosses" who brought to Williamson County two great federal public works projects: Interstate Highway 35 and a dam on the tiny San Gabriel River. Those projects swept away the farmers and ranchers whose way of life had defined the county for 100 years and triggered explosive population growth. In Road, River, and Ol' Boy Politics, Linda Scarbrough tells a cautionary tale about the difficulties of anticipating ripple effects from large-scale public works "solutions" and of adequately planning for their environmental, economic, and cultural consequences. It is a central Texas tale that is pertinent in all of America's "oasis" cities across the dry Sun Belt, a repeating story that has come to define American patterns of suburban development.In her examination of the roots of the transformation of traditional agricultural land in an American county into modern suburbia, Scarbrough identifies three essential ingredients that are necessary for dynamic growth: the promise of a new source of water, the promise of a new major highway, and a politically skillful and determined local leader. Without these three key ingredients, the kind of growth that has occurred outside Austin, Dallas, Phoenix, Denver, and Salt Lake City is not likely to happen.This book analyzes the spectacular growth and radical transformation of one American county in the last half of the twentieth century in the same way that Robert Caro's The Power Broker parsed the development of New York City and Long Island, New York, by looking at the public works projects of Robert Moses and how they set the stage for New York's economic domination over the eastern United States. The chief difference is that in Williamson County, Texas, no Robert Moses existed; instead, there were several "little Moses" characters who profoundly altered this agricultural outpost outside Austin through the public works they brought to fruition.
[...]

Illustrations of the Birds of California, Texas, Oregon, British and Russian America

Original Price
19.99
ISBN
9780876111062
Binding
Hardcover
By
John Cassin

Illustrations, one of the rarest books on American birds, established John Cassin (1813-1869) as the leading American ornithologist of his day. Now, in a superb facsimile edition from Wind River Press, Illustrations is available for less than the original subscription price nearly 140 years ago. Its value is enhanced by a new introduction by Robert McCracken Peck, who provides the first comprehensive biography of Cassin.

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El Llano Estacado: Exploration and Imagination on the High Plains of Texas and New Mexico, 1536–1860

Original Price
15.99
ISBN
9780876111956
Binding
Paperback
By
John Miller Morris
El Llano Estacado, a major new work of Western History, reveals the historical heart of one of the world’s unique regions—the enormous mesaland of the Southern High Plains in Texas and New Mexico. From the Canadian River in the north to the Edwards Plateau in the south, from the Pecos River in the west to the fantastic canyonlands of the Red, Pease, Brazos, and Colorado Rivers in the east, the 50,000 square miles of “the Llano” are chronicled over three centuries with an eye to the history and compelling mystery of this special land. Armchair detectives will especially relish the comprehensive discussion of the lost—now possibly rediscovered—Coronado expedition route across the plains.This story of the legendary Llano Estacado from 1536 to 1860 informs our understanding of discovery and geography in the Southwest. El Llano Estacado is more than a good read; it is also a native son’s meditation on the role of imagination and myth in how we perceive this unique environment. From the dawn of historic contact with the Southern High Plains, a remarkable series of Spanish, French, Mexican, and Anglo-American explorers and adventurers attempted to make sense of its curious environment.“Lo Llano,” the first part of this saga, is a detective story on the Lost Coronado Trail. The key to this ancient Southwest mystery—where did the Spanish go in Texas in 1541?—is understanding what they saw and how they remembered it in their writings. Part Two, “The Llano Frontier,” studies the three centuries of Spanish exploration and imagination following Coronado. “The Illimitable Prairie,” part three of the study, analyzes the romantic discovery of the Llano in the Anglo imagination. In the final part, “The Great Zahara,” the author rides the trail of the classic Anglo explorers of the Llano: James W. Abert, Randolph Marcy, John Pope, and others. The visual representations of the Llano are also revealed through numerous illustrations of rare maps and lithographs.El Llano Estacado is a grand history and geography told in an imaginative, interdisciplinary style befitting a high land. The mysteries and mirages of this great Southwestern landscape are the stuff of adventurers’ quests and now readers’ dreams.
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For more than five years award-winning photographer Geoff Winningham explored and photographed Buffalo Bayou, the Houston Ship Channel, and the landscape he found along the way. As he hiked and canoed the course of this historic stream, he found pristine stretches of the bayou still untouched by the encroaching city of Houston. He also found areas where the forces of nature and those of the growing city seemed to struggle for supremacy. He revisited sites of historic importance, such as Allen’s Landing, where the city was founded in 1836, and the San Jacinto Battlefield, where Texas won its independence in the same year.

In Along Forgotten River, Winningham has sequenced eighty of his striking, large-format black-and-white photographs, following Buffalo Bayou from its source in the Katy Prairie through the suburbs and into the inner city of Houston. From there, his stunning duotone photographs follow the bayou east to its confluence with the San Jacinto River, where it becomes the Houston Ship Channel, crosses Galveston Bay, and enters the Gulf of Mexico.

As a counterpoint to his photographs, Winningham has edited and sequenced passages from the written accounts of the earliest travelers to this part of Texas. Impelled by dreams or curiosity, an incredibly diverse lot of travelers came along the roads and streams of Texas in the preceding centuries. There were Spanish friars and itinerant preachers, prospective settlers, refugees, adventurers, exiles, and naturalists.

Some travelers came with their families, looking for a place to settle. Mrs. Dilue Harris was one of these who came to Texas in the early 1830s. In her "Reminiscences," she recalled a night on Buffalo Bayou: "We were surrounded by wolves and water. There was a large sycamore tree that stood in the water near us, and it was as white as snow. The buzzards roosted in it. We could hear owls hoot all night. Mother said it was a night of horrors. . . . She said the owls were singing a funeral dirge, and the wolves and buzzards were waiting to bury us. . . ."

In Along Forgotten River, Winningham has selected passages from the writings of these and other early travelers and interwoven them with his remarkable and beautiful photographs. The result is a complex and fascinating interplay of pictures and words, of historical perspective and present-day observation.

[...]

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