History of White Rock Lake
By Tom Keener
A long-time popular recreation destination in East Dallas, White Rock Lake has a rich heritage. Learn the story of this historical body of water that lies west of Buckner Boulevard, between Garland Road and Mockingbird Lane, with Sally Rodriguez at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, October 25 at the Allen Public Library.
Responding to a water shortage, Dallas city leaders approved the damming of White Rock Creek to create a new water source in 1909. The project was completed in 1911. Later, the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Works Progress Administration constructed stunning amenities that still adorn the landscape. Sailing, rowing, hunting, and fishing activities were soon enormously popular at the site.
World War II brought increased military uses to this locale, including a prisoner of war camp for German officers. In 1943, the government used the barracks at Winfrey Point to house German prisoners of war who had served in Rommel's Afrika Corps.
White Rock Lake is the source for one Dallas’ most famous folk stories—the Lady of the Lake. Several versions of the story are told around campfires. Any variant of the tale involves a woman in a soaked white dress spotted somewhere along the edge of the lake. After pleading for and getting a ride home, always in the back seat, she vanishes before reaching the destination. A puddle of water on the seat is the only visible evidence that she had been in the car.
The Bath House Cultural Center, Audubon Bird Watching Center, hiking and picnic areas are among the many attractions that draw over a million visitors a year.
Author of “Images of America: White Rock Lake” and “Images of America: White Rock Lake Revisited,” Sally Rodriguez worked for the City of Dallas Parks Department for over 32 years, served as district manager, and promoted the historic legacy of the Dallas Park system.
Sponsored by the Allen Public Library, the program is free. The library is located at 300 N. Allen Dr. Call 214-509-4911 for additional information.