"GAMBLER WITH HEART" by Mac Abel . . .


1972 - 1973

When Norman, Dorothy and staff first began, he asked his son-in-law, Bill Lucy (who, incidentally is quite a golfer), who was the best, and the best known golf architect in the world, and he replied without hesitation, "Robert Trent Jones, Sr." Turning to daughter Cheron, he asked her to seek Mr. Jones’ number, call him, and ask if he would be interested in coming down and designing the golf course. She called. He would. He did. And the rest is history!

The water level of Lake L.B.J. was down to 31 feet, and Texas Wildlife announced a fish kill for the first weekend in April of ’72 before the lake was refilled. The purposed for draining the lake was to create a fishermen’s paradise. The operation to do away with rough fish was to use $45,000 of rotenone, 32 marine biology and technical personnel, two specially constructed barges and numerous small spray boats. The fish kill was widely publicized. Fishermen arrived in droves, exceeding all expectations! The lake resembled some kind of wild combination of Woodstock and Dunkirk. It was said that if a fisherman had fallen out of a boat, he would have tumbled into a neighboring vessel. Fishermen scooped up the fish as they rose to the surface after the rotenone spraying.

Local Marble Falls' merchants worried they had overstocked beer, colas, bread and cold cuts. Not so. By the afternoon of the first day, they were sending S.O.S.’s for more supplies. It had been anticipated 50,000 would come to the area but parks and wildlife survey estimated 85,374 made the scene!

One contract fisherman hauled away 39,000 pounds of dressed buffalo and crappie. Swift & Co.
carried off 0,000 pounds to be processed into fertilizer meal.

Shortly after the kill, the refilling of the lake began. Parks and Wildlife restocked the lake with over a million bass, crappie, channel and blue catfish and sunfish.

As the lake was refilled, Lake Marble Falls was lowered 10 feet to facilitate construction of a sub-surface road below Wirtz Dam. It was to be used at a later date for moving in heavy generators and boilers as the new power plant on Lake L.B.J. neared completion. The US 281 Bridge at Marble Falls was not considered capable of supporting the heavy equipment. A large hole below the dam was detected and additional work was required to shore up the hole, causing Lake Marble Falls to remain down for two months.

Earth was still being moved adding to waterfront landmass. Lake dwellers were concerned. A petition with some 2,500 signatures was brought to the Texas Water Quality Board urging tightening of septic tank use. Septic tank regulations were issued by the quality board with L.C.R.A. to be the regulating body. The regulations were to go into effect the following March. Critics blasted the rules as too lenient.

While Lake L.B.J. was drained for construction purposes, it was the ideal time to proceed with installation of communications for Horseshoe Bay. Responsibility for which had been assigned to General Telephone & Telegraph. A rare assignment indeed when on considers planning was being done for a whole community before it even existed! Within 45 days, two 900-pair cables were trenched across Lake L.B.J. from Sherwood Shores, eliminating the need for unsightly overhead installations.

In addition to esthetic consideration the Hurds recognized in communications, the same applied to utilities, T.V., and power. All are underground where possible. There is well over 100 miles of wire underground.

Horseshoe Bay has exceptionally well planned streets, most of which are designed to dead-end in cul-de-sacs, in order to reduce through traffic. The main entrance is a wide beautifully landscaped two-way boulevard leading to the Yacht Club and Marina. Originally slated to extend from the airport to Highway 71, the plan was abandoned when an agreement could not be reached with the Dr. T.P. Thomas Family, owners of the T.P. Ranch, whose property extended into the proposed road area. Fortunately, it was placed at the entrance of Horseshoe Bay Blvd. off Highway 2147…far more practical and beautiful.

In 1972, Wayne delivered to Mr. Tiny Gooch, the Lupton’s attorney, a large cashiers check for the final payment to Luptons for purchase of the ranch. Mr. Gooch endorsed the check and told Wayne to deliver it to the title company in Llano. Wayne commented, He was a very trusting fellow since the endorsed check was negotiable." He replied, "I’m not trusting you. If you don’t deliver it, I’ll kill you!"

Upon the completion of the transactions with the Luptons regarding the purchase of the ranch, Tiny Gooch, the illustrious Ft. Worth attorney, was presented with a plot of land of his choice in appreciation of his efforts in handling the sale, with the provisions he must build on it. He chose the location of his favorite deer stand, known as tract "C", no 17005 Third Sid, where his "second home" was constructed. He and wife Adrian spent a great deal of time in Horseshoe Bay, for he loved to play golf. Sidney McClendon later built his home facing the Gooch home on the opposite side of the street.

1971 building permits were issued for:

4094-4095 Clayton Nolen Drive
409 Clayton Nolen Drive
15006 Harbor Light
15007 Harbor Light
15008 Harbor Light
15009 Harbor Light
15010 Harbor Light
15011 Harbor Light
4080n Hi Circle South
17029 Boot Hill
15051 Cove West Condominiums

Long after the completion of the Yacht Club, construction crews, though accustomed to such demanding and exacting work, still talked in awed tones about the four tortuous months Norman and Dorothy, and a crew of ten men, spent, rummaging around the nearby hills digging up odd-sized boulders and rocks, later used in the construction o Horseshoe Bay’s pool and waterfalls. To reach some of the most aesthetically appealing boulders, many of which weighted several tons, bulldozers were called in and roads leading a mile and half back into the remote areas were carved out of the hillside so trucks could come and haul the giant rocks away. One crewman declared, "It was really tough up there. But now that I’ve seen how those boulders and rocks have been used to dress up the premises around the Yacht Club and pool, I’m proud I was part of the crew that helped bring’em down."

It was not uncommon to see assistant Manager Bill Lucy, waist deep in concrete, with frogmen guiding concrete to encase inlet-crossing facilities. What "was" uncommon, was this handsome young man wearing a beautiful Horseshoe Bay "Logo" sweater and striking cowboy hat! Ah yea! Horseshoe Bay had quality even then!

 Horseshoe Bay’s Yacht Club, site of the 1972 Miss Highland Lakes Beauty Pageant found camera crews and contestants spending most of the two day’s activities around the club’s magnificent swimming pool, where the -pulchritude blended with the beauty of the surroundings.

No, your eyes were not deceiving you. Those turtles sunning themselves at the low-water crossing on High Circle North did have the Horseshoe Bay logo painted on their backs!

When Norman was approached by Mr. John Nunnally of Marble Falls concerning the possibility he might be interested in purchasing the Wennmoth Ranch, the family knew, it a sale was made, he would see that it was developed properly and with quality.

The Ranch, some ten miles southwest of Marble Falls, in Llano County, is west of the "Coke" Ranch. As sold, it consisted of 2,300 acres. It surrounds both Blue Lake and Deerhaven on the south sides, runs west of Lake L.B.J. again, and Sandy Harbor, continuing south to U.S. 71, on east to Oak Ridge Estates. At the time of the purchase, Norman arranged the sale of 870 acres to Mr. Sid McClendon, which he had no desire to develop.

The original land, known as the Matern Ranch, consisted of 5,500 acres running from Pecan Creek westward along the Colorado and passed the mouth of Sandy Creek, which included the subdivisions of Sunrise Beach, Sandy Harbor, Blue Lake and Deerhaven. Its waterfronts included Sandy Creek, Pecan Creek, Walnut Creek and the Colorado.

Annlies Matern Wennmoth, daughter of Ivo B. Matern, ad lady of undisputed culture, speaks lovingly of the beauty of the land where she grew to womanhood. Upon the marriage of Annlies to Fritz Wennmoth, son of the prominent Otto Wennmoths, Fritz purchased a large portion of the land from her father, successfully cultivating it with cotton, corn and oats in an exemplary manner. Lovely daughter, Nita, is the wife of John Nunnally. Delightful, active Mrs. Annlies Wennmoth, lives in Marble Falls, as does her family.

The charming little restored school house, on the 12th fairway, at Horseshoe Bay West, lies just a few feet away from it’s original location. Built for daughter Nita, it was shared with children of nearby families, the Gibsons and Bozers. Teachers were difficult to obtain, but when available, room and board was furnished by the Wennmoths and Boozers families, by rotating turns.

An interested observer was reported as having said: "If the Wennmoth property is every developed, the entire south water front of Lake L.B.J. extending from Wirtz Dam on the east, to the Moss Ranch near Kingsland, with the lone exception of the 6000 acre "Dillon Tract" on Pecan Creek, will be under development".

Construction began on the part of the Wennmoth Ranch, now Horseshoe Bay West, in early 1975, development began in 1977. Norman retained a portion of the land, from which he developed Applehead and Applehead Island.

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Copyright 2001 by IQ Consulting, Horseshoe Bay, Texas - All rights reserved.
Revised: April 17, 2010

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