In the 75 years since Texas Co-op Power debuted in July 1944, the great outdoors of Texas has welcomed magnificent parks, breeding bats and even Willie Nelson.
1944: Big Bend National Park is established.
1948: The San Jacinto Battleground is the new home for the battleship Texas, which becomes the first permanent battleship memorial museum in the U.S. The site has closed and the ship will be re- paired and relocated.
1953: Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower of the U.S. and Adolfo Ruiz Cortines of Mexico dedicate Falcon International Reservoir.
1957: Monahans Sandhills State Park, which boasts dunes up to 50 feet tall, opens in West Texas.
1957: Sweetwater holds its first rattlesnake roundup.
1960: The cavern that became Natural Bridge Caverns, the largest in Texas, is discovered.
1962: Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, southwest of Mission, which is now one of nine World Birding Center locations in the Valley, opens to the public.
1966: Texas, an outdoor summer musical at Palo Duro Canyon State Park, is performed for the first time.
1967: The first Terlingua Chili Cook-Off is held.
1969: El Paso County deeds Hueco Tanks, with three massive granite hills noted for their prehistoric Indian rock art, to the state.
1970: Lyndon B. Johnson State Park & Historic Site opens to the public.
1972: Devil’s Sinkhole State Natural Area is designated a National Natural Landmark.
1972: Guadalupe Mountains National Park, which includes Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas at over 8,700 feet, is established.
1973: Willie Nelson holds his first Fourth of July picnic—at a ranch in Dripping Springs.
1974: The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department publishes the first state list of endangered species.
1978: The Nature Conservancy buys Enchanted Rock and deeds the land to the state six days later.
1982: The National Wildflower Research Center, originally envisioned by Lady Bird Johnson, opens in Austin.
1986: TPWD initiates the ShareLunker program to promote and enhance bass fishing in Texas.
1986: The Don’t Mess With Texas anti-littering campaign begins with a TV commercial featuring blues great Stevie Ray Vaughan.
1990: Travis County designates Hamilton Pool a nature preserve.
1991: Big Bend Ranch State Park opens on a limited basis.
1994: The temperature reaches 120 degrees June 28 at Monahans, tying the state record for hottest temperature, set August 12, 1936, in Seymour.
2007: Big Bend Ranch State Park opens fully to the public.
2011: The U.S. and Mexico announce a binational cooperative conservation plan to protect and preserve the Big Bend/Rio Bravo region—North America’s largest and most diverse desert ecosystem.