Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 15, Number 1, Spring, 2003 Page: 20
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of these three young men is unknown, but in all
likelihood they soon joined an all-black company
in some other part of the country.
During the first two weeks of their sixmonth
enlistment, reported The Dallas Morning
News, this first wave of recruits performed some
"necessary work around the camp" and were
given "medical and dental treatment" prior to
embarking on a "two year park improvement
program" that would include "deepening and
widening the lake" as well as "clearing underbrush,
building bridle paths, trails, picnic grounds,
barbecue pits and shelter houses and terracing
work."6 Initially, the area that received the young
workers' closest attention was Doran's Point, now
called "Flag Pole Hill."
The appearance of Doran's Point, "a barren
rock hill" overlooking the northern end of the
lake, was almost completely transformed during
1936 and 1937.The work included and probably
started with the obliteration of a dirt road that
previously led to the apex of the mound on its
east side. After leveling off the top of this natural
vantage point, the youthful workers formed $283
worth of logs, cement, and forty tons of flagstone
into a picturesque overlook surmounted by a tall
flagpole and accessible by sixteen wide stone steps
from a newly-paved parking area. On an adjacent,
more gently sloping rise, they constructed an 81foot-long
open-air picnic shelter made of
Cordova limestone, a small stone latrine, and an
all-purpose stone building that was afterward used
for many years to house transmitting equipment
for city-owned radio station WRR. (Today, it is a
designated "athletic building.")7
At the bottom of the rise, at the corner of
Northwest Highway and a newly-built ring road
called Doran Circle, the CCC constructed a cluster
of six limestone buildings, the largest of which
was originally used as a concession stand where
park-goers could purchase fish bait, picnic supplies,
cold drinks, and similar commodities. Today
this collection of CCC-built structures forms the
East Region headquarters of the Dallas Park and
During this same period of time, utilizing
plans drawn up by local architect M.A. Burke, the
young men of the CCC began constructing a
limestone and wood concession building on a
slightly elevated tract of land overlooking Sunset
Bay, at the mouth of Dixon's Branch creek. Both
this building and the park caretaker's cottage, constructed
immediately behind it, are still standing
today, along with at T-head fishing pier that continues
to attract anglers, duck feeders, and people
curious to see the large flock of pelicans that often
spend the winter in this location. As its name
implies, Sunset Bay is also a popular place to view
the sun setting over the distant skyscrapers of
When it was built, the Sunset Bay recreation
building featured a dark walnut wooden sign
complete with cast iron hardware forged in the
CCC camp's blacksmith shop. The sign, which
was decorated with carved oak leaves and colorfully
embellished three-inch carved letters, read:
"Sun Set Inn, Dinner, Drinks, [and] Sandwiches."
A smaller wooden placard, which hung below,
advertised the availability of bicycles for rent. This
sign has long since disappeared.The CCC blacksmith
shop was also used, no doubt, to create the
whimsical cast-iron frogs, birds, fish, and other
creatures that decorate the windows of a stone
latrine built by the CCC, which still stands near
the Dixon Branch or 'Stone Tables" picnic area.
M. A. Burke designed them. A small bridge and
spring-fed lily pond, designed by another local
man, N. S. McCommas, were also constructed
nearby during this same period."' All have long
since fallen into disrepair.
Another noteworthy CCC project designed
by M. A. Burke was the park's entrance portal
constructed at the junction of East Lawther Drive
and Garland Road. This impressive entry, sporting
gold-colored lettering spelling out "White Rock
Lake Park," includes a stone bridge in its design.
A matching portal was later constructed on West
Lawther Drive about a block south of
Mockingbird Lane. Three-quarters in size to the
original, this portal's cast-iron letters are black."
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Dallas Historical Society. Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 15, Number 1, Spring, 2003, periodical, 2003; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth35094/m1/22/: accessed December 9, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Dallas Historical Society.