|| Early Dallas residents relied on natural springs, Artesian Wells and the Trinity River for their water. By the early 1900s, these sources began to prove inadequate for the growing city. In 1909, under Mayor Stephen J. Hay, the city began acquiring 2,292 acres of land to build a reservoir on White Rock Creek. The Fred A. Jones Co. began construction in January 1910, and the new dam and pump house were finished in 1911. Due to ongoing drought conditions, the lake did not fill until April 1914. Beginning in 1917, the city permitted fishing on the lake. Within 10 years, sailing and boating were popular activities. In 1929, the land around the lake became a city park. The next year, the city built a picnic shelter and tables, and the firm of Carsey and Linskie designed an Art Deco bathhouse and boathouse. The city also developed a sandy swimmers’ beach. Until 1935, the city administered a prison farm at the lake, and from 1935 to 1942, a Civilian Conservation Corps (CO. 2896) camp operated, building many facilities. During this time, the Works Progress Administration provided for many other improvements.
In the 1930s and 1940s, more than a half million people visited the lake each summer. During World War II, the former CCC camp became a U.S. Army Air Corps center and the site of a camp for German prisoners of war. A drought in 1953 caused the city to ban swimming and temporarily use the lake as a water source. In 1958, the city passed an ordinance banning large outboard motors; this drove outboard enthusiasts to other lakes. The number of park visitors declined in the ensuing years, but revitalization efforts have led to increased park usage and a movement to preserve the park and its history.