How did Calaveras Lake, Braunig Lake get their names?

Reservoirs important part of CPS Energy production

SAN ANTONIO – Calaveras Lake lures plenty of anglers to its warm, fish-friendly waters.

"Per acre of reservoir, there are more people fishing than in any other lake in Texas," said Gregg Teiken, environmental operations for CPS Energy.  There are even redfish, which are generally a saltwater species, in the lake.

The warmer-than-average-water helps the fish flourish.

An alligator or two has also been spotted in the Bexar County reservoir.

But how did Calaveras Lake get its name?

"The dam is constructed on Calaveras Creek," Tieken said.

Calaveras translates to "skulls" in English. The problem is that no one knows how the creek got its name, so that part of the story remains a mystery. We do know, however, how Calaveras' sister reservoir, Braunig, got its name.   "Victor Braunig was the third general manager of the City Public Service board. He came onto CPS in 1910," Tieken said.

A visionary with CPS Energy, Braunig came up with a brilliant idea for the area's power plants during the drought in the 1950s.

"Part of the process to make electricity, you make steam, and you have to have a cooling source and the cooling source for our power plants is lake water," Tieken said.

By using both lakes, which are mostly filled with treated wastewater, CPS avoided depleting the Edwards Aquifer.

Most people don't know that Calaveras Lake had a moment of fame, too.

The lake is mentioned in the 1996 movie “Courage Under Fire” and is the setting for a big scene in the movie starring Matt Damon.

About the Author:

Justin Horne is a meteorologist and reporter for KSAT 12 News. When severe weather rolls through, Justin will hop in the KSAT 12 Storm Chaser to safely bring you the latest weather conditions from across South Texas. On top of delivering an accurate forecast, Justin often reports on one of his favorite topics: Texas history.