So last month’s little local history lesson must have struck a chord, huh? I have been literally inundated with at least two inquiries (I have a low threshold for inundation) about the true story of White Rock Lake. It is heartening to know that a yearning desire to learn still burns inside these two guys who called me — actually, one was a wrong number. Yes, the yearn to learn still burns (this sounds like either the onset of "Post-Cici’s Syndrome" or a potential country hit for George Jones).

 

When we last left the shores of the lake originally known as Ahahahahahchuy (I incorrectly left off one "ah" last month), the great military genius of the 18th century, Generalissimo Juan Walne, had just defeated the famous French "Can-Can" brigade at the Battle of Little Big Porn (present site of PT’s Gentlemen’s Club). This defeat was condescendingly reported back in Paris with the following headine: "So What? Juan Walne Won One."

 

The traditional story of how the French were defeated is that they were without their long-time commanding officer, Major Risqué, and were consequently vulnerable in such a topless position. Rather than surrender in the ordinary way, the French soldiers instead proudly climbed on tables and began dancing — a custom that is alive and well today.

 

With the advent of the steam engine, steamboat traffic on White Rock Lake steadily increased until finally someone suggested a light rail alternative. The idea never caught on, however, because no one believed that locals would ever pay the $2 billion it would take to get it started. Many of us still can’t believe it.

 

During the Spanish-American War, a United States Navy frigate brigadier fighting ship was stationed at White Rock Lake. It didn’t see much action, but it was put on "red alert" one night, when there were scattered reports of unidentified submarine racing in the area.

 

The famous Bath House opened in 1912 to rave reviews — apparently, several hold-outs were finally taking baths and considerably improving life at home. Many people today are unaware that the Bath House entertained quite a collection of famous guests: Muddy Waters, Dirty Dingus McGee, Franklin Delano Grossevelt, John Stainback, and Ringo (around the collar) Starr.

 

Winfrey Point, one of the most familiar and beloved locations on the lake, was recently added to the registry of National Historic Talk Show Host Birthplaces and, of course, recognizes the birthplace and childhood home of Oprah Winfrey.

 

The lake has been a significant part of the lives of many Lake Highlanders over the years. I’ll never forget that very special summer evening’s stroll around the lake when I proposed marriage to my wife, Liz — no, wait; that was . . . never mind.

 

White Rock Lake (along with PT’s) will continue to be an important landmark for Lake Highlands. On your next stroll around the lake, take time to read the historical marker, which reminds us: "White Rock Lake — This famous lake was formed when glacial deposits thawed during a typical summer day in Dallas. Since then, a lot of stuff has happened."

 

And now, you know the rest of the story.