Texas is another country...

Texas is another country...I have driven into Texas from all four directions and can affirm that after crossing that imaginary state line you just know you are in Texas . The world becomes wide open space, the sky feels higher, you can stretch out and rest a spell.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

THE NEW BRAUNFELS PITS

Post by Alana Cash

In 1850, if you can believe it, New Braunfels was the largest city in TexasNew Braunfels had become a supply center and eventually a processing center because it was at the juncture of the Comal and Guadalupe Rivers and on the road between San Antonio and Austin.  There were cotton and flour mills, as well as a brewery and a powerhouse on the Comal River.  They were built to last – they didn’t fall down, they had to be torn down.

The first summer that I was a lifeguard, I got invited to “the pits” in New Braunfels

One of the mills had been torn down, but two towers were left standing in the river and you could climb onto the walls of the towers from the riverbank. Those towers were called “the pits” and were connected by a common wall.  The walls were about 4 or 5 feet thick and each pit was about 10 feet square, as I recall.  There was an underwater entry to each of the pits – a hole in one wall on the river side.  Water from the river fed into the pits through that hole, forming a pool about 15-20 feet down from the top of the wall, so that looking down from the top of one of the pits was like looking down an open, square well.  . 

The game was to make that 20-foot jump off the wall.  Once you jumped in, the only way out was to call the fire department or find that underwater hole and swim through it to the river.  You waited on the wall until most of the kids in the pit swam out so you wouldn’t land on someone’s head when you jumped.                                                                                   

It was scary the first time I jumped because it was definitely a swimming commitment.  I went to the pool every summer in high school ­to get a tan and dog-p­addled around a bit, but until I took swimming as an elective in my freshman year of college, I didn’t really know how to swim.  The summer after taking that class, I became a certified lifeguard – having proved that I could drag a struggling 200-pound man out of a swimming pool. 

I made the jump.

I knew which wall the door was in so I went under water and found it 6 feet or so below the water line – there was light at the end of that tunnel so I knew how far I had to go to get to the river.  That’s when I realized that the current of the river was pushing water in toward the pit and I would have to swim against that current, under water, holding my breath.  It was really exciting and I didn’t fool around about it. 

Of course, the pits are gone now.  I don’t know if someone actually got hurt or the City authorities figured someone could get hurt and tore them down. 

But, what a blast!

COMMENTS:
Ron Forester said..
WOW ... that is neat, never heard of 'the pits' til now!!! Way to go girl!!! Ron

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

WOW ... that is neat, never heard of 'the pits' til now!!! Way to go girl!!! Ron