Early records indicate that Jefferson was founded around 1841 on land ceded from the Caddo Indians. At that time a log jam more than 100 miles long existed on the Red River north of present Natchitoches, Louisiana. The Indians said that this log jam had always existed. It was known as the Great Red River Raft.
The Red River Raft (or Great Raft) acted as a dam on the Red River and raised the level of the river and Caddo Lake several feet. This rise in the level of Caddo Lake and the corresponding rise in the Big Cypress Bayou at Jefferson permitted commercial riverboat travel to Jefferson from ports such as St. Louis and New Orleans via the Mississippi and Red Rivers.
Jefferson was one of the most important ports in Texas between 1845 and 1872. The town reached its peak population just a few years after the Civil War and is reported to have exceeded 30,000. During this time, Jefferson was the sixth largest town in Texas.
There were attempts over the years to remove the raft and permit the normal flow of the Red River but these attempts were unsuccessful until the discovery of nitroglycerin. In 1873, using nitroglycerin, the Army Corps of Engineers was finally able to clear the raft from the Red River. This lowered the level of Caddo Lake and Big Cypress to the extent that riverboat traffic to Jefferson was no longer commercially feasible. At the peak of river traffic Jefferson had a population of over 7,000. Just a few years later it had dropped to a little over 3,000. (This info provided by Wikipedia)
Here are those night shots of just some of the Christmas lights we saw with Sandy’s mom the other night in Jefferson TX. (click on photos to enlarge)
Hope you enjoy these as much as we did. Sandy’s mom particularly enjoyed the outing.
Until next time. . . .MtnAire Travlers.