East Texas Videos

Passage into the Primeval: Caddo Lake

Passage into the Primeval, Caddo Lake

Caddo Lake is the largest Cypress Forest in the world.

In this video, Kenneth shares the history and interesting facts about Caddo Lake. For example, he tells us that in the mid-1800s, it was a haven for outlaws, saloons and brothels which I can imagine. But what I didn’t know was that in 1909, pearls were discovered in mussels pulled from the lake starting a major pearl rush.

They called themselves “pearlers”. But others called them “water hogs” for their habit of rooting around in the mud of the Caddo Lake shallows on all fours.

Average pearls brought $25 or $30 each ($600 to $750 in today’s dollars.) A few rare specimens fetched $500 to $1000 (that’s $12k to $25k today). And a couple truly remarkable pearls were valued at $1,500 each.

The rush was on with some 500 tents lining the shore and hillsides of Potter’s Point at any one time. But as quickly as it started, it ended. In 1911, the Corps of Engineers increased the height of the dam at Mooringsport, LA, just downstream of the hunt area. With the prime mussel beds now under several feet of water, the task of harvesting the mussels was just too much for the wading “pearlers”.

To read more about the Caddo Lake Pearl Rush, check out Gary Endsley’s post, The Great Caddo Lake Pearl Rush.

This video was filmed in around Sawmill Pond in Caddo Lake State Park.

Video by KennethKramm