White Rock Lake is a reservoir located in east Dallas, Texas (United States). The lake was formed by damming White Rock Creek, which today widens into the lake before continuing south out of the spillway and emptying into the Trinity River. The lake covers 1,254 acres (5.1 km²) in the east Dallas community.
Before it was a lake, White Rock Lake was a collection of farms owned by the Daniel and Cox families. The first record of the Daniel family farm is in the Family Bible of Thomas Walker Daniel. He and his wife Frances Herndon Daniels seem to have moved to the White Rock area in the late 1830s and early 1840s. Daniel's son had a good friend during the civil war named Cox. When the war was over, the Cox family moved to land adjacent to the Daniel family. Together they had a joint family cemetery called the Daniel-Cox Cemetery. Other pioneer families such as the Humbards, the Glovers, Lavenders, McCommases, Coxes and Donagheys jointly maintained the cemetery.
The city of Dallas, in a long range plan for water, forced the Daniel family to sell their land to build White Rock Lake. According to family legend, for two days and nights the Daniel family camped around the lake before water would be released into the area. All that is left of the Daniel and Cox farms is the hold "Daniel-Cox family cemetery." The Daniel family fell upon hard times and when the cemetery was renovated, the Cox family contributed funds to renovate the cemetery so the current sign reads "Cox Cemetery".
After its function as a water source was supplanted, White Rock Lake continued to serve as a recreational lake for the city of Dallas. Suburban residents also frequented it as well. From its earliest days, area residents wanting to get away from home constructed cabins on leased property along its shoreline. The Bonnie Barge, for example, was operated on the lake by Garland resident John H. Williams, Sr. from 1946 to 1956. Although originally permitted, swimming was banned in September 1952. A ban on motorized boats followed in 1958.
The lake is surrounded by White Rock Lake Park, which features a 9.33 mile (15 km) trail for hiking, running and bicycling, the Bath House Cultural Center and the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. There are several fishing piers and sailing is permitted.
The Bath House also once served as a boathouse for several crew teams, including SMU. White Rock Boathouse established in 1930, originally used for motor boats was later adapted to house sculling boats. The Boathouse later went on to purchase the old Filter Building http://www.thefilterbuilding.com/ and holding tanks from the former purification facility and converted them into what may be the largest boathouse worldwide. This building currently houses the boats for SMU, Jesuit Prep, Highland Park High School, Woodrow Wilson High School, and White Rock Boathouse's own crew teams.http://whiterockboathouse.com
The Corinthian Sailing Club was chartered in 1939 to promote the sport of sailing and sailboat racing in the Dallas area. The club focuses on racing with well attended Saturday and Sunday afternoon races, Wednesday evening "fun" races, club sponsored regattas held year round, and several major annual regattas. The club is nationally known for its excellent sailors and fine race management. CSC, located on beautiful White Rock Lake in Dallas, also sponsors many social activities, teaches adult sailing and supports an active juniors program.
The White Rock Boat Club was formed in 1961 as the brainchild of three members of the Corinthian Sailing Club. CSC was having a problem with tracking davit ownership and the price of davits escalated due to demand since the club had no control over prices. Two of the founders, the Oetkings, had also developed a fine catamaran called the Hellcat and had gone into production with growing sales, but they couldn't find davits at CSC. WRBC was constructed not only to supply reasonably priced davits, but to help sell Hellcats. The club sold davits to help pay for the construction of the club, with the provision that the club could buy the davit back if the owner left the club. The club has exercised this right and now owns and leases most of its davits. The club was constructed with a few differences from its present configuration as can be seen in the 1968 photo above. In order to promote organized class sailing, WRBC at one time limited the type of boats kept at the club to racing classes. In the 1970s, the following classes of sailboats were eligible for membership: Butterfly, Coronado 15, Flying Scot, Harpoon, Lido, Lone Star 13, MC Scow, M16 Scow, M20 Scow and Rebel. The club remains active on the lake today.
White Rock Lake is also home to the Southern Methodist University Sailing Club which uses the lake primarily as the team's practice water
Many events are held at White Rock Lake, including the White Rock Marathon, which, for part of the course, runs around the lake. The White Rock Marathon is recognized as a top 10 marathon within the United States, and serves as a Boston Marathon qualifier. The primary beneficiary of the marathon is Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children.
The lake contains catfish, sunfish, Crappie, Carp, gar and bass and bluefish.
A well-known Dallas urban legend is the story of the Lady of White Rock Lake. The tale goes that the ghost of a girl in her early 20s will appear at night, dripping wet in 1920s dinner evening wear, and a car passing along the road circling the lake will stop. The girl tells the driver she had an accident and needs to get home. The driver will then drive to the address given, and when he (or she) arrives, the girl is gone, leaving only a waterlogged seat. The driver then learns after knocking on the door of the house that the girl was their daughter -- she died by drowning when she fell out of a boat on the lake at night many years ago. Some later stories report that the driver taking the girl going to the address arrives, and the house is no longer there: it was torn down years ago and is now the site of an apartment complex. Reports of the ghostly encounters were published in Dallas-area newspapers in the 1960s.
This legend is said to have been the inspiration for the bluegrass song Bringing Mary Home, written by John Duffey of the Country Gentlemen. Their version of the song made the Billboard Country Chart in 1965. The song has since been recorded by many others, including Frankie Miller, Mac Wiseman, Red Sovine, Ricky Skaggs, and Daniel O'Donnell. It is now regarded by many as a bluegrass standard.
Another Lake pastime popular with young adults was viewing The Submarine Races. When there were no curfews at the park, it became a popular spot for high schoolers wanting a deserted, yet beautiful spot for necking. Whether in a car or on a blanket, viewing The Submarine Races at White Rock Lake is still very popular.
The lake was shown on a map in the beginning of the TV show Cheaters.
Courtesy of Wikipedia