Recently my son was watching the movie “Holes,” a an excellent adventure movie based on a book by the same name written by louis Sacher in 1988. Sacher additionally wrote the screenplay because that the movie, which come out in 2003. In the story, Stanley Yelnats IV, a teenager, is sent to Camp environment-friendly Lake, a juvenile detention camp, because that stealing a pair that sneakers. Environment-friendly Lake was a dried-up lakebed in Texas whereby the camp detainees were forced by the angry warden (played by Sigourney Weaver) to dig holes looking for a buried treasure. It’s a an excellent growing-up story.
The movie reminded me that environment-friendly Lake is a real location in Texas that has its own fascinating legitimate history.
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Green Lake is the largest organic fresh-water lake in Texas. Situated in Calhoun County near the coast, the covers an acre of about 10,000 acres.
Historically, the lake to be filled by overflow native the Guadalupe River, and the lake occasionally dried up during times that drought. Its average depth when full is around 4 feet.
Before the Civil battle the area was worked out by ranchers and also cotton farmers and grants were made of the neighboring land. A little settlement, environment-friendly Lake, was developed near the lake.
Sometime before 1917, the landowners surrounding environment-friendly Lake sue the State the Texas completing that their neighboring grants expanded to the facility of the lake, and that the State did not own title to the bed that the lake.
In 1917, the Austin Court of Appeals held that the bed of the lake belonged come the State. Welder v. State, 196 S.W. 868 (1917). “Under the legislation as it now exists in this state, environment-friendly Lake can not be marketed …, but is under the jurisdiction that the game, fish, and also oyster commissioner….”
In 1913, if Welder v. State was pending, Elmer Yates made application to the Texas basic Land Office come buy the bed of green Lake. In 1918, after ~ the Welder instance was decided, the floor Commissioner, James Robison, marketed the bed of the lake come Yates. His decision to be apparently based upon evidence gift by Yates the the lake wasn’t yes, really a lake.
In the 1940’s, Price Daniel, then Texas’ Attorney general (and later on Governor and Supreme Court Justice), sue the successors to Yates to recover the State’s title to the bed of eco-friendly Lake, saying that the land Commissioner had no authority to sell it in 1918. In Texas in ~ the time, the soil Commissioner had authority to offer state land just if the was specialized to the Public school Fund; Daniel said that under Texas law the beds of lakes and rivers space not Public institution Lands and not subject to sale. In State v. Bryan, 210 S.W.2d 455 (1948), the Austin Court the Appeals upheld the sale. That decision was based on a state that noted that, if a sale was made by the state “under shade of law,” it might not be tested unless suit was carried within one year native the date of the sale. The court concluded the the floor Commissioner’s sale was “under color of law” due to the fact that there to be evidence taken into consideration by the commissioner that the lake to be in fact dry many of the time. Yates submitted proof that the bed that the lake was “bone dry” in 1895 and also again in 1900, and also that in between 1900 and also 1912 the was occasionally flooded and also sometimes dry, and was “completely dry” in between 1917 and also 1918. “There absolutely was a reality question at least as to whether the area to be the bed of a navigable
So two courts rule on the legal standing of the lake, one holding the it to be a lake and the various other that it was not. Here’s a photograph of green Lake this day from Google Earth:
But wait, there’s more.
In 1988, the Texas supreme Court made decision the case of Indianola company v. Texas Water Commission, 749 S.W.2d 771 (Tex. 1988). In that case, the then owner that the lands the were the bed the the area dubbed Green Lake (that wasn’t yes, really a lake) sue to determine who owns the water in the lake. In Texas, the State owns every waters in lakes and also rivers, however “storm water, floodwater, and also rainwater of a depression” can be captured and owned by personal landowners. “We agree that eco-friendly lake is a ‘lake’, and also thus windy water under Tex. Water Code ar 11.021,” claimed the court.
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Thus far, i have uncovered no opinion determining legal title to the treasure that Stanley Yelnats IV uncovered in the bed the the lake. For that, you’ll need to watch the movie.