Quite the Two-Fer: A Book on Dallas's Historic Parks And a Fund-Raiser for City's Archives

As I mentioned in January -- upon the publication of Historic Dallas Hotels and its accompanying postcard set and Park and Rec historian Sally Rodriguez's White Rock Lake -- Arcadia Publishing has long done a bang-up job documenting Dallas's history. To that estimable collection add another title: Historic Dallas Parks, which hit bookshelves this week. And, you'll notice, the author is another city of Dallas employee: municipal archivist John Slate.

Says Slate, 99 percent of the photos within come from the archives; photos of the Civilian Conservation Corps camp at White Rock Lake in the mid-'30s came from a private collection donated to the city. And, he tells Unfair Park, more than 90 percent of the pictures have never been published -- since many of them were taken by water utilities over the years to document not parks, but under-construction projects. Which is how a photo of the Triple Underpass downtown wound up in the book; a snapshot of a water main being installed is, 75 years later, a historical document.

Also included: some of George Kessler's original parks plans, picnics at Reverchon Park in the 1930s and Lake Cliff Park back when it was a privately run amusement park. For starters. Says Slate, his tome is actually the third in a series of Arcadia books that consists almost entirely of photos stored in the municipal archives -- forthcoming closer to the State Fair of Texas is Park and Rec assistant director Willis Winters's book on Fair Park, a rare hardback collection in the Arcadia series.

But, perhaps most impressive is the fact that Slate's not making a cent off this: All his royalties from the project -- let's say, oh, 'bout a buck a book -- will go directly back into the municipal archives at Dallas City Hall. That, right there, that's a damned good idea. Also, mark it down: There's a big book-signing August 18 in Arlington Hall at Lee Park. Speaking of ... jump!

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky

Latest Stories