Parks, Dallas County, Texas

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Texas and Pacific Railroad Making
Extensive Improvements.

     The Texas and Pacific Railroad company officials are inclosing their grounds in the East Dallas yard, developing certain streets heretofore undefined, such as Gaston, Good, Monument, Floyd and Hawkins, and making Poyner alley twenty-two feet wide from Good to Hawkins street. The triangle on south of Floyd street from Good to Hawkins streets will be [prepared?] and cultivated. It will be named Noble park in honor of the late Col. George Noble.

- April 30, 1896, Dallas Morning News, p. 8, col. 4.
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R. C. Porter Files Recommendation
With Commission.



Writer Declares That This is an Ideal
Location for Recreation

     Yesterday's Times Herald told that R. C. Porter had been in conference with the members of the park board relative to sites for new parks. Yesterday afternoon, Mr. Porter filed the following with Mayor Hay:
     Dallas, Tex., Oct. 5, 1907. -- The Honorable Mayor and Board of Park Commissioners of the City of Dallas, Dallas, Texas: Gentlemen -- Should the Park board deem it wise to purchase property for park purposes on the west side of the Trinity river, and located in what is known as the Oak Cliff territory, then I respectfully beg to invite the attention of said board to the consideration of what is known as the Plowman tract of land, located just north of the present Cliff park, and to offer the following reasons why said tract of land, known as the Plowman property, should be purchased for park purposes in behalf of the city of Dallas:
   1. Said property consists of between thirty-six and forty acres of ground admirably located for park purposes; there is also an additional tract of land of about twenty-five acres adjoining the Plowman tract, which could be purchased, making a tract of about sixty-five acres in all. This would include all the ground between Burroak street on the north, Plowman avenue on the west and Cliff park on the south, extending as far as the east end of the dam, then extending in a northeasterly direction to Zang's boulevard. If the city does not desire to purchase, just at this time, more than the Plowman property, it can defer the purchase of the rest until such time as is deemed advisable. No other place of such dimensions can be purchases suitable for park purposes in the city of Dallas.
   2. The Plowman tract is the most centrally located for park purposes of any property now located in or near Dallas that would be suitable for park purposes. This property is almost as near the center of the city of Dallas as is the City Park of Dallas, and in the purchase of ground for park purposes, it would seem to us that due regard should be had, not only for the territory of Oak Cliff, but for the entire city of Dallas, as well. And, in this connection, we beg to refer you to resolutions passed by the Oak Cliff Improvement League of Dallas on the night of September 28, and hereby attached and made a part of this petition.
   3. The Plowman tract is located practically on the car line, while the other piece of property, known as the Marsalis park, is located about three blocks from same, and which distance is quite an objection to the ground for park purposes. The Plowman tract is just as accessible for all parties who are compelled to use the street car to get to the park, and after you arrive at the park, the Plowman tract is much more convenient to the car than the Marsalis tract.
   4. The Plowman tract is now accessible to the public on account of Zang's boulevard running through same, and in addition to this, said tract has a street on the north boundary of same and on the west boundary of same.
   5. Should said Plowman tract be purchased for park purposes, the main station fl all parties getting on and off the car to visit the said park would be at the main entrance of the Cliff park, and therefore all persons patronizing said park would have the benefit and convenience of the beautiful park entrance heretofore constructed by the Cliff park.
   6. The natural beauty of the Plowman tract is incomparable with that of any other property located in Oak Cliff. An inspection of this tract for park purposes will convince the most skeptical of its great beauty and desirability for park purposes.
   7. The City of Dallas, at present, has no tract of land of any consequence which has the appearance of a forest park. All men love to go into the forest at times, and as a piece of woodland property, the Plowman tract would satisfy the most exacting. There may be other pieces of property that are as beautiful in this respect as the Plowman tract, but I know of none located in or near the city of Dallas that will begin to compare with the same.
   8. The accessibility and convenience of the Plowman tract makes this property exceedingly desirable for the entire city of Dallas, not only because of its nearness to the City of Dallas, but it is so located, that if anyone driving or riding for pleasure so desire, in going from Oak Cliff to Dallas, or vice versa, a trip through the park could be made without any inconvenience whatever. In this particular respect, we believe that if the Plowman tract was converted into a park, the visitors to this park would be at least ten times greater than there would be to the Marsalis park, should said property be purchased for park purposes.
   9. An item of special interest in the Plowman property is that this property could be used for years at a very small expense on the part of the city in making drives, highways, etc., and if the city is limited in means for the next few years, and in funds for improving parks, then the adaptation and use of the Plowman tract for park purposes, at a small expense, is worthy of much consideration by this board.
   10. The Plowman tract is so located that both sewerage and water can be obtained for almost any part of same, and that, too, without any very great expense; while water can be obtained at the Marsalis park, yet we do not believe it to be possible to obtain sewerage for that park; but at best, sewerage can be obtained only for a very small portion of same.
   11. The Plowman tract has plenty of ground to improve same, and this is quite an item to be considered in the building of walks, driveways, etc.; and in addition to this, there is a good place for the locating and building of a large lagoon on the said tract.
   12. The Plowman [tract] [approximately three lines of text are missing] [con]venience, for visitors to the park should be taken into consideration in the purchasing of ground for park purposes. In order to reach the shade or grove in the Marsalis park, one is compelled to go down a steep embankment, and when one finds the grove, the breeze is almost entirely obstructed; and in point of comfort in the grove of the Marsalis park, and in the grove in the Plowman park, there can be no comparison, because the latter is so located as to get a splendid breeze, while the breeze from the former is almost excluded. R. C. P
     The resolution referred to by Mr. Porter was published in these columns last Sunday.

- October 6, 1907, Dallas Daily Times Herald, Sec. I, p. 8, col. 3-4.
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Pointed Out in Petition That Site Is
Ideal For Park and if Otherwise
Used Would Mar Beauty.

     A petition which is being signed by many is being circulated asking the park board to purchase a tract of land adjoining the Greenwood cemetery for park purposes. According to those interested in this matter, the land belongs to an old family of Dallas and it is the belief of those working on the matter that the property could be purchased for a reasonable sum. It is pointed out in the petition that if the land in question was used for any other purpose it would mar the beauty of the cemetery, where many of the city's dead sleep their last long sleep.
     The petition is as follows:
     Hon. Chairman and Members Park Board, City of Dallas, Tex. Your petitioners, residents and taxpayers of the city of Dallas, would respectfully call your attention to and ask that you purchase, if obtainable, the following described tracts of land, if same can be purchased at a reasonable price, and dedicate the same as a public park.
     This land lies adjoining the Greenwood cemetery, and if used for any other purpose, would greatly damage and destroy the beauty of this last home of the very best of our citizenship who have gone before. It would also damage, very materially, all of that part of North Dallas. This property fronts on Oak Grove avenue about 1,000 feet and extends back about 200 feet average to the northwest line of Greenwood cemetery, and is bounded on the northeast by Hall street and on the southwest by McKinney and Howell street. This property has a small drain through it and some beautiful shade trees, in fact, would make an ideal park and playground.

- April 12, 1913, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 3.
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     A mass meeting of the North Dallas citizens who are favorable to the purchase of four and one-half acres of land north of Greenwood cemetery by the Park board for park purposes, will be held Thursday evening at 7:30 o'clock at the William B. Travis school. George Stewart, one of the leaders in the movement, said Tuesday morning:
     "We believe the city should have this land for park purposes. It is in the center of a thickly populated section of North Dallas, and there are no other parks near by. The William B. Travis school, with its hundreds of children, is located just a block away. It is unnecessary to point to the advantage that would accrue to the children. Then the park would be a protection to Greenwood cemetery. I think all who own lots in Greenwood cemetery should be interested in protecting this beautiful burial place from the encroachment of buildings in the future.
     T. P Scott and other North Dallas residents are active in the movement to have the Park board buy the land. They expect the mass meeting to be largely attended.

- April 15, 1913, Daily Times Herald, p. 4, col. 5-6.
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Meeting Will Be Held Thursday Night
at Travis School to Take Steps to
Urge Purchase of Plot.

     North Dallasites who are interested in having the park board purchase the [fou]r and one-half acres just north and [adj]oining the Greenwood cemetery, for [par]k purposes, are to hold a meeting [at 7]:30 o'clock Thursday night at the William B. Travis school. All residents in the community of this school [and] the entire section of North Dallas are urged to attend this meeting.
     Those behind the movement point out that the location is an ideal one for a small park and say that it will serve two purposes, that of preventing the encroachment of business and dwelling house in close proximity to the cemetery where many of the older residents sleep the last long sleep and will add much to that portion of the city from a beauty standpoint. The plot of land is almost across the street from the William B. Travis school and this is urged as another reason why it should be transformed into a park.

- April 17, 1913, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 7.
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     At an enthusiastic meeting of North Dallas property owners, held last night at the Travis school, it was decided to ask the Park Board to purchase property in North Dallas for a park, out of a portion of the money to be obtained through the $500,000 bond issue recently voted. The land in question fronts on Oak Grove avenue, running back to Greenwood Cemetery, between Hall, McKinney and Howell streets.
     Thomas Scott was elected chairman of the meeting and George W. Achilles, secretary. A committee of three, consisting of Thomas Scott, Gilbert Irish and George Stuart was appointed to call on the owners of this property and see for what price it can be bought. They are to report to the next meeting, at which time another committee will be appointed to wait on the Park Board.
     There are already many beautiful trees on the land in question and a little branch running through it, which could easily be utilized in carrying out landscape effects. The children from the Travis school are beautifying a portion of this property now.
     The total area of the ground which it is desired to change into a park is between four and five acres. It fronts on Oak Grove avenue for about a thousand feet, extending back about two hundred feet to the northwest line of Greenwood Cemetery. It is bounded on the northwest by Hall street and partially on the south and west by McKinney avenue and Howell street.
     "Unless we transform this ground into a park, there is a chance that it will eventually be taken up by an inferior class of houses, on account of its proximity to the cemetery," said Mr. Achilles last night. "We feel that North Dallas should reap some benefits from the big bond issue and the location in question is naturally one of the most beautiful spots that could be secured."
     The date for the next meeting has not yet been announced.

- April 18, 1913, Dallas Morning News, p. 4.
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Committee Is Named to Confer With
Owners of the Property -- To Ask
Use of Park Bond

     North Dallas property owners met Thursday night at the Travis school building and decided to petition the city commissioners to purchase a tract of land for park purposes. The committee will urge that a portion of the $500,000 park bond issue voted at the April election be used for the purchase of the property. The tract of land proposed to be bought is bounded by Oak Grove, running to Greenwood cemetery, between Hall, McKinney and Howell streets. It covers nearly five acres and is declared to be an ideal spot for a park. Its natural resources gives promises of one of the best little parks in the city. It already has on it many large and shady trees and a small branch traverses it.
     At Thursday night's meeting, a committee composed of Thomas Scott, Gilbert H. Irish and George Stuart, was named to confer with the owners of the property and report at the next meeting of the citizens. Thomas Scott presided at the meeting and Geo. W. Achilles was secretary. After next week's meeting a committee will be named to present the object to the city commissions.
     It is not known what the property can be purchased for. The land, it is said, will never be used for handsome homes because of its near proximity to the cemetery. For this reason, the North Dallas people are anxious that a park be established there. The site will be easily accessible by electric cars, the Highland Park and Oak Lawn cars passing near by.

- April 18, 1913, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 6.
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     A park tract of 305 acres, situated a little over a mile beyond the city limits at Fair Park, on the lower Orphans Home road, has been offered to the park board at a nominal cost to the city. M. N. Baker and Emil Fretz of the park board will inspect the property Friday afternoon and make a report at the meeting next week.
     George P. Jones, well known local real estate man, who has offices in the Gaston building, is negotiating the deal by which the people of Dallas may be able to secure a great out of town park at a comparatively small expenditure of public funds. Already, pledges for bonuses in the amount of $10,000 and other tentative offers of money, by interested property owners and business men, have been made.
     The new park land is situated on a hill side which overlooks the city. The Terrell interurban will run right through the property and the Texas & Pacific Railway skirts one edge near the main entrance. The property is valued at $250 an acre, but can be secured for less than that amount.
     About 100 acres of the park land is thickly wooded. Several groves of pecans and other native trees make the place ideal for picnic purposes. About 200 acres is smooth and flat table land. This space is said to be ideal for the construction of a series of baseball diamonds for public usage, or for play parks. The ground could easily be adapted for an automobile speedway or race track of a mile and a quarter around.
     Two swimming pools or small lakes for boating and fishing can be made on the property, if a couple of inexpensive dams are built across two streams, it is said. A running spring will supply water for picnic parties.
     The plan of George P. Jones is to raise the majority of the $75,000 needed for the land purchase through adjoining property owners whose land would be enhanced by the establishment of the big park. The interurban company would also, in all probability, help in securing the park land.
     "All other cities of importance in Texas have great out of town parks donated by people who have the public good at heart," Mr. Jones says. "While I hope to secure much money to defray the cost of the property purchase from interested property holders, yet, I think that many Dallas business men would pay their part in such a public enterprise if the park board thinks well of the location. The land should cost the park board only about $10,000."

- July 10, 1914, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 1, col. 6.
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     For the first time in the history of Dallas, the park board and the school board will combine in the purchase of property for play park purposes.
     The park board, Saturday, agreed to pay for half of a tract of land adjoining the Colonial Hill school, and the school board will pay an equal share toward its purchase. The lot in question in the Colonial Hill school block is 225x407 feet, and will cost $28,000. The two branches of the municipal government will play $14,000 each.
     The land adjoining the school campus will be made into an ideal play park for the children, at the expense of the park board.

- August 2, 1914, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 3, col. 4.
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     The acquisition of the lease on the Gaston Park property by the Park Board and directors of the State Fair of Texas, which was announced in The Times Herald Saturday, is one of the most important park transactions to take place recently.
     For a long while, the growth of the State Fair of Texas has made essential an outlet at Fair Park. The property was secured from Captain W. H. Gaston by the city some years ago on most generous terms. The leases of the Dallas Baseball Club prevented its use by the public, however. These leases were bought for the sum of $12,000, after negotiations by a joint Park and Fair Board committee.
     Adjoining Gaston Park, many other pieces of property have been bought at various times by the park board facing on Grand avenue. Many of these pieces of land have been secured during the past few months. These lots will increase the acreage of the Gaston tract from twelve and one-half acres to about fifteen acres. This land will be added directly to the present Fair Park.
     Many improvements will follow on the heels of the Gaston addition. It is planned to alter the street car tracks from Exposition to Second avenue and to change the entrance to Fair Park.
     The land, which will be available for use during the 1915 State Fair of Texas, will give more room for the amusement of the State Fair throngs and will be ideal for general and lay park purposes.
     The land will be improved by the Park Board and made one of the beauty spots of the city.
     The baseball grand stands and wooden buildings will probably be soon torn down by the management of the baseball club and used when they secure a new location for the ball grounds.

- September 20, 1914, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 5, col. 4.
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Park Plans Progress.

     Architects Lang & Wichell are making rapid progress on their plans for the construction of a neighborhood house in Trinity Play Park. The new social center building will be similar to the one under construction at Summit Play Park.

- September 24, 1914, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 3, col. 5.
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Board Pays for
New Park Tract

     The park board, Friday, authorized the issuance of a city warrant for $30,000, to the board of trustees of St. Mary's College. The sum was tendered in payment for five and a half acres of property adjoining the St. Mary's College campus.
     The new park was purchased by the board some days ago. Officials say that it was a most advantageous purchase for the city.

- September 26, 1914, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 4, col. 7.
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     Arrangements have been made with several local moving picture distributing houses whereby motion pictures are to be furnished three nights each week to be shown at the Mexican Play Park in the rear of the Mexican Mission on McKinney avenue.
     One of the houses will furnish a picture every two weeks. This will permit of a new picture being shown at the park on each Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night.
     W. F. Jacoby, superintendent of play parks, stated that the concerns had donated these pictures gratis and that under the arrangement, made pictures of a very recent release would be secured.
     The concerns donating the pictures are Metro Picture Corporation, Select Picture Company, World Film Corporation, Box Office Attractions company, S. A. Lynch Enterprises and Vitagraph.
     Mr. Jacoby stated that the attendance at the play park was exceptionally large and that with the securing of the new pictures, he expected a substantial increase in attendance.

- June 20, 1919, Dallas Times Herald, p. 15, col. 3.
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     The fencing of Gaston Park and its use by the State Fair of Texas as a ground for the parking of automobiles during the fair were considered by the members of the City Park Board at a special meeting Friday afternoon.
     No definite action was taken; a committee of the Park board, composed of Emile Fretz and Edgar Hurst, being appointed to confer with a committee from the fair association on the erection of the fence.
     A report will probably be made at the next meeting of the board, which is to be held Tuesday morning.
     The fair association representatives have requested [to] the Park Board that the grounds be turned over to them as soon as possible after Labor Day in September, in order that preparations for the fair in October might be started as early as possible.

- June 21, 1919, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 6, col. 4.
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Discuss Financing of Park.

     The financing of the community play park in Trinity Heights was discussed by the committee in charge of the project at a meeting held in Union Chapel, Trinity Heights, Friday night.

- June 11, 1922, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 3, col. 2.
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City Has Park Without Entrance;
Bottled Up by Store Site

click here for enlarged image

     In spite of strenuous efforts of the park board and the East Dallas Improvement league, it seems that the new high school site in East Dallas is to be separated from Randall park by a strip of land, on which are to be erected a block of stores. The new park is also to be cut off from all streets.
     The accompanying map shows the school site of seven acres on Glasgow drive, a street opened so that the tract would be available for school purposes. Across the drive from the school site is a strip of land that adjoins Randall park, and separates it from the street. On the opposite side of the park is the property of the Juliet Fowler Home. This property cuts off the park from a street on the east side.
     Eastside avenue, as shown on the map is not a street. The situation is that the park is entirely bottled up and will remain so, unless it is possible to purchase the tract of land on the side next to Glasgow drive.
     When the park board bought the park and the school board bought the site opposite, it was understood that the narrow strip would be purchased later. For the park, $2,500 an acre was paid, but the owners asked $3,000 an acre for the land in the strip. The school board paid $3,000 an acre for its land. The park board was about ready to buy the remaining strip, when it developed that the owners had decided not to sell the land for the park, but to cut it into small lots and sell for business sites.

- August 12, 1923, Dallas Daily Times Herald, Sec. I, p. 4, col. 2-5.
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