Lora-Marie Bernard is a national award-winning multimedia journalist, outreach consultant, spokesperson and author. Contact her at LoraMarie@Berloma.com.
Communities have spent more than 100 years mastering the mighty Brazos River and its waterways. In the 1800s, Stephen F. Austin chose the Brazos River as the site for the first Texas colony because of its vast water and fertile soil. Within 75 years, a pumping station would herald the way for crop management. A sugar mill that was eventually known as Imperial Sugar spurred community development. In 1903, John Miles Frost Jr. tapped the Brazos to expand the Cane and Rice Belt Irrigation System while Houston newspapers predicted the infrastructure marvel would change the region’s future—and it did. Within a few decades, the Texas agricultural empire caused Louisiana to dub Texas farmers “the sugar and rice aristocracy.” As the dawn of the industrial age began, the Brazos River and its waterways began supplying the Texas Gulf Coast industry.