WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — More than three decades ago, a small committee had a big dream to bring something to Wichita Falls that would attract visitors passing through town.

Then, after major fundraising efforts, the man-made waterfall off Central Freeway became reality, 35-years ago this Sunday, June 5. According to original committee members, it took a whole lot of community support mixed with a whole lot of faith.

If you’ve lived in Wichita Falls or even driven through town on a daily basis, chances are you’ve seen the Falls, something that Committee Chairman Roby Christie said wasn’t an easy task getting installed.

“It was a thing that really needed to happen, and a lot of people got involved to make it happen,” Christie said.

Christie, along with Gail Thompson Natale and several other committee members, raised roughly $350,000 to get the waterfall installed.

A music video even helped push the Falls campaign.

On the day of the big reveal, and with Willard Scott and The Today Show there, along with our own Skip Mcbride, there were a few kinks in the hose.

“The pumps that drive the water up over the top of the falls, they can’t run if they get too deep, and so the river had flooded; there was water in the first floor of the hotel across the way,” Christie said. “Seadoos running up and down the river, and the fire department came and hooked up to a fire hydrant up there, and for that first day, it was fire department water that was going over the Falls.”

35 years later, the Falls are still going strong, something that Christie said has had a lasting impact on the community.

“The Falls was a great catalyst for a lot of things: Riverbend Nature Center the trail that runs to the Wee-Chi-Tah Sculpture at the site of the original falls,” Christie said. “Then, it just kept on moving into downtown and now circling the town, and it all started here with a desire to bring this nameplate back to this community.”

Christie said the Falls wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for the tremendous community support.

“Sixty-thousand people put their money on the line to help make this happen, and then many more put their names engraved in bricks here at the Falls,” Christie said.

Christie said what started as an old dumping site is still thriving today as one of the most visited attractions in Wichita Falls, even 35 years later.

The Falls opened back in 1987 after initially being set to open the year before.

That happened during the second-ever Falls Fest, which at the time was called “The two biggest turn-ons in Texas”.