Cooling Off

Katy farmers created an inadvertent means of cooling off when they started building rice wells to easily irrigate their crops and pastures.

By the mid-1900s, the people in Katy had discovered another means of cooling off. By then, many fortunate farmers had built rice wells to irrigate their crops which doubled as ice cold swimming holes. Huge pipes pumped ice cold water into a pool that was then pushed on through long canals and into the rice fields.

Lopez recalls, “Every year my Dad would clean out the hole so it was fairly deep and wide. He kept one side shallow for little kids before he began making the long canals to the rice fields. We couldn’t wait for him to turn on that pump to start flooding the fields. During harvest time, farm hands knew that at 5:00 p.m. they were allowed to go jump in the swimming hole.”

That summer tradition continued on well into the 1980s. As the Katy community continued to expand, new generations of residents discovered the old ways of cooling off in those old water holes until farming gave way to new developments. What once were a summer retreat for neighborhoods kids, soon turned into what is now known as Cinco Ranch.


Read more from our Community Collection. Then for a deeper dive, head on over to the Katy Heritage Society for a more in depth look at the history of the Katy community.