Description: A photograph of a woman and young boy at Penitentiary Hollow in Lake Mineral Wells State Park. A dam across Rock Creek east of Mineral Wells in Parker County was built to impound a new water supply for the city of Mineral Wells. A joint committee of nine named the new water source Lake Mineral Wells in December 1919. When it became necessary to dam up Palo Pinto Creek in the 1960's to obtain a larger source of water, the city gave Lake Mineral Wells to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission for a State Park. Penitentiary Hollow in the State Park is one of the few areas in Texas where rock climbers may gain mountain-climbing experience. As the photograph shows, spectacular vertical cliffs, 40 feet and more in height, are well-adapted to honing climbing skills. The area gets its name from the story that cattle thieves were thought to cache their booty there, preparatory to driving the hapless animals onward for sale. Anyone detected in the area was therefore likely to find lodging in a local penitentiary.
Contributing Partner: Boyce Ditto Public Library