The Brazos River, called the Rio de los Brazos de Dios by early Spanish explorers (translated as “The River of the Arms of God”), is the longest river in Texas and the 11th longest river in the United States at 1,280 miles from its headwater source at the head of Blackwater Draw, New Mexico to its mouth at the Gulf of Mexico with a 45,000 sq mi drainage basin.
The main stem of the Brazos is dammed in three places, all north of Waco, forming Possum Kingdom Lake, Lake Granbury, and Lake Whitney. Of these three, Granbury was the last to be completed, in 1969, and its proposed construction in the mid-1950s became the impetus for John Graves’ book, Goodbye to a River.
There is also a small municipal dam (Lake Brazos Dam) near the downstream city limit of Waco at the end of the Baylor campus, which raises the level of the river through the city to form a town lake. This impoundment of the Brazos through Waco is locally called Lake Brazos. There are nineteen major reservoirs along the Brazos