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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of the Triple Underpass downtown wound up in the book; a snapshot of a water main being installed is, 75 years later, a historical document.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!

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