The History of White Rock Lake

White Rock Lake, which celebrated its Centennial in 2011, is enjoyed by more than 1 million visitors a year. This urban oasis, once the main water source for the city of Dallas, has become a recreational magnet for Dallas-area residents looking to partake in the park’s well-maintained hike-and-bike trails, sailing, kayaking, bird watching, picnic sites, fishing, and a host of other outdoor activities.

Historical Timeline

Attributed to Sally Rodriguez’s book Images of America: White Rock Lake


2,292 acres purchased to create new lake 10 miles northeast of town for $176,420.


Dam and spillway complete.


Lake was completely filled.


A new larger lake was completed in Lewisville and White Rock was no longer needed as a water source. The City of Dallas transferred ownership of the land surrounding the lake to the Park and Recreation Department.


The city moved quickly and built the Bath House and Bathing Beach, the BoatHouse at T&P Hill and the Fish Hatchery. Private clubhouses and camps began to pop up around White Rock Lake. Activities like swimming, water skiing and speedboat races were popular in the 1930’s and 1940’s.


Stone Tables Picnic Pavilion was built by the City of Dallas.


Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) began work at White Rock Lake with the following improvements: planting of 1500 trees, a shelter house, two combination buildings, three latrines, a lily pond and the development of trails, picnic grounds and a campground. Winfrey Point was started but was not complete when the CCC closed and WWII began.


First dredging of White Rock Lake took 5 years to complete due to lack of funding. The Dreyfuss Club was built at a cost of $6,000, as a private clubhouse for the employees of the late Sol Dreyfuss.


The Corinthian Sailing Club was established at WRL.


The Lakewood, Forest Hills and Little Forest Hills neighborhoods began to develop. The City ruled that the private clubhouses and camps be removed to provide more public access to the park.


Sunset Inn served as a restaurant at White Rock Lake.


Bonnie Barge was brought to White Rock Lake.


City of Dallas was in a severe drought and the Dallas Water Utilities once again had to rely on the lake for a water source. A swimming ban was issued that is still in effect today.


Dallas experienced a major flood and Dreyfus Club, one of the last private clubs at White Rock, was sold to the City of Dallas Park and Recreation Department.


Mockingbird Lane was extended to Buckner Boulevard providing easier access to the park.


White Rock Lake was dredged again. The silt was not hauled off but was used to create Mockingbird Point where the dog park is now located.


The Park and Recreation Department purchased the 43 acre DeGolyer Estate and in 1984 the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Society began to manage and operate the estate.


White Rock Lake celebrated its Centennial anniversary. Lake and user groups came together and hosted over 25 different events over 3 months raising awareness and funds for our park.