Dallas’ role in the 1970s DOCUMERICA photo project by the then-new EPA

White Rock Lake.

In 1971 the Environmental Protection Agency, a new government bureau at the time, embarked on a photo documentary project that would attempt to show Americans their diverse and changing country from a variety of perspectives.

DOCUMERICA would serve as a visual baseline and record of the environment during a period of rising concern about pollution and the adverse effects of modern life; the agency’s purpose was/ is to protect human health and the environment by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress.

By ’74 some 80,000 images by more than 110 photographers showed how Americans interacted with the environment. It might have been more than the organizers knew what to do with, because, as curbed.com reports, the results were never fully promoted or assembled for any grander purpose; the negatives currently sit in the National Archives (this link leads to a Dallas-specific search).

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Captions are taken directly from the project, except parenthetical.

Central Expressway Leading South into Dallas.
L.B.J. Freeway.
A neighborhood just north of Downtown Dallas.
A residential section of North Dallas, near the LBJ Freeway (Lake Highlands, maybe?)
Friday afternoon traffic on the freeways of Dallas (that’s nothing, amIright?)
Sailing at White Rock Lake, popular weekend playground for citizens of Dallas.
White Rock Lake.
White Rock Lake, once unspoiled and rather isolated White Rock Lake has become a city dweller’s weekend mecca, attracting people looking for “action.”
White Rock Lake, once unspoiled and rather isolated White Rock Lake has become a city dweller’s weekend mecca, attracting people looking for “action.”
Jet plane comes in for landing at Love Field over Bachman Lake.
White Rock Lake.
Girls smoke marijuana at White Rock Lake.
White Rock Lake.
On shores of White Rock Lake. Once an unspoiled retreat, the lake shows the effects of steady influx of weekend crowds. (That, and the trash from our northern ‘burbs flowing south.)
Jet plane comes in for landing at Love Airfield.
Cement mixer travels east on L.B.J. Freeway between Central Expressway and Plano Road.
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