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Eisenhower Visits Texas - DPS at the Falcon Dam Dedication, 1953

Texas Department of Public Safety Historical Museum and Research Center

Silent | 1953

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  •  Texas Governor Allan Shivers hosted President Eisenhower at his Sharyland Estate, located close to Mission in Hidalgo County 
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  • The Falcon Dam The Falcon Dam
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The Falcon Dam was built on the Rio Grande between Starr County, Texas and the Mexican State of Tamualipas between the years of 1950 - 1954. It was dedicated on October 19, 1953, by the presidents of both countries, Adolfo Ruiz Cortines and Dwight D. Eisenhower. This silent footage shows the activities of the Texas Department of Public Safety during President Eisenhower's stay in the Rio Grande Valley.

Established by the Texas Legislature on August 10, 1935, the Texas Department of Public Safety was created by the consolidation of the Texas Highway Motor Patrol with the Texas Rangers. Since that time, its duties have grown to include such activities as the state licensing of drivers, vehicle inspection, narcotics enforcement, and the State Civil Defense Office, (now the Division of Emergency Management,) which aids local governments during times of natural disaster or social upheaval. While its duties have evolved over time, the mission of the DPS has remained constant - to provide public safety services to those people in the state of Texas by enforcing laws, administering regulatory programs, managing records, educating the public, and managing emergencies, both directly and through interaction with other agencies.

This film comes to the TAMI library courtesy of the Texas Department of Public Safety Historical Museum and Research Center

The Falcon Dam is an earthen embankment dam and reservoir on the Rio Grande River that finished construction in 1954. The Falcon Dam is situated in Starr County, Texas and Nueva Ciudad Guerrero, Tamaulipas, Mexico. It serves as an international boundary and crossing between Texas and Mexico. In addition to its role as an international boundary, the Falcon Dam also serves purposes of water conservation, irrigation, flood control, and recreation for both countries. The Falcon Dam also supplies water to hydroelectric power plants in both the U.S. and Mexico, creating energy for the turbine generators and supplying water for the penstocks from the reservoir. The dam is 150 feet high and 26,294 feet long. It was dedicated in October 1953 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Mexican President Adolfo Ruiz Cortines. It is a project of the International Boundary and Water Commission.

Allan Shivers was a Texas politician who held several offices spanning the legislative and executive branch.  Born in Lufkin, Texas in 1907, he entered the University of Texas after high school hoping to become a lawyer like his father. Shivers dropped out a year later but returned after a brief stint working at an oil refinery.  Ever determined to the make the most of his college career, he joined several student groups and became president of the Student's Association.  He practiced law in Port Arthur after graduation until 1934 when the 27-year-old ran for his first position in public office: state senator.  His campaign was successful, making him the youngest member of the Texas Senate.
After serving in the U.S. military during World War II, Shivers was elected as state lieutenant governor in 1946 and again as an incumbent in 1948.  He is credited with consolidating much of the executive branch's power into this position with roles including the choice of which senators serve on particular committees to setting daily agendas.  Shivers succeeded Governor Beauford Jester upon the latter's death in 1949 and held the position for the next 7 and 1/2 years.  Under this new position he helped create the Legislation Council, the Legislative Budget Board alongside other pieces of legislature, including tax increases that served to expand state services.
Shivers took on several controversial positions that marred his image in later years.  He supported Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower's bid for Presidency in 1952, seen as a traitorous move by his Democratic party.  Opposing Brown v. Board of Education and scandals involving his administration (such as the Veteran's Land Board Scandal) lost further support.
With his political life coming to an end, Shivers took on several leading roles at banks in Texas until gaining a six-year appointment to the University of Texas Board of Regents.  He helped raise funds for both the Law school and College of Communications (a $5 million grant) during this time.  Shivers passed away on January 14, 1985 after suffering from a heart attack.