White Rock Lake has been a part of the Lakewood community for generations.


It’s an oasis amid traffic lights and blaring horns. A place to relax and


enjoy nature’s beauty within walking distance from most Lakewood homes.


White Rock Lake is not just a destination, but it is an asset to the


community and the city of Dallas.  Individuals in the Lakewood community


help to preserve the beauty of  White Rock Lake in a variety of ways.  Some


make financial donations, others volunteer their time, and still others


contribute their ideas in memory of loved ones or for love of nature.




Five years ago, Hampton Hodges and his wife moved to Dallas.  They had spent


almost every weekend prior to the move looking for the perfect neighborhood,


a neighborhood that was surrounded by beauty, away from the cookie-cutter


homes of suburbs and the cement of shopping center parking lots. Mrs. Hodges


would spend most of those weekends at White Rock Lake with two of her


daughters.  Both lived in Dallas, and the time they spent with their mother


was precious. Mrs. Hodges grew to love White Rock Lake, its beauty, and the


wildlife that inhabits the area.  And after months of searching, they found


that perfect home in Lakewood, within walking distance of White Rock Lake.


The home was special to the Hodges;  Mrs. Hodges had recently been diagnosed


with ovarian cancer, and she and her family knew the time they spent


together and where they spent it would be treasured. 




>From the couple’s home on Tokalon, they could walk to the lake and enjoy an


afternoon together.  But there was one thing Mrs. Hodges didn’t like; she


did not like that the children in the neighborhood had to walk from Tokalon,


across Williamson Road, across a gully and then over railroad tracks just to


get to White Rock Lake.  She had always wished there could be a safer and


more convenient pathway to the lake for the neighborhood children.




A few years after the couple moved into their Lakewood home, Mrs. Hodges


succumbed to ovarian cancer.  In memory of his wife’s love of the


neighborhood and White Rock Lake, Mr. Hodges decided to look in to building


that pathway.




"She loved the lake and watching the birds.  It was very therapeutic for


her.  I thought this would be a great way to contribute," he said.




Mr. Hodges first approached DART and the City of Dallas with the idea of


making a paved pathway from Tokalon to White Rock Lake.  He volunteered to


hire the contractor, get the work completed, and then donate the pathway


back to the city.  The city approved his proposal, but the development would


be postponed because of the planned lake dredging.  As he waited and


continued to research the possibilities, Mr. Hodges eventually met Gary


Griffith, a board member of the Dallas Parks and Recreation Department.  Mr.


Griffith, who had worked with the White Rock Lake Foundation and For The


Love Of The Lake Group on other projects, was intrigued by the pathway


concept. He had heard of similar ideas.  Mr. Griffith introduced Mr. Hodges


to other interested residents, and since that point, plans are now being


considered to create a pedestrian gateway to White Rock Lake.




"We decided it was truly the south end entrance of the lake,"  Mr. Hodges


said.  "We wanted to contribute something to our wives, but at the same time


make a good entrance for the neighborhood. When you get people pushing


ideas, there’s no telling what can get done.  I was just going to be a small


part of it, but the project has just grown," he said.




The pedestrian gateway is going to become a reality because of the ideas of


individuals and the support of the City of Dallas, the Parks and Recreation


Department and the organizations that donate their time to improve and


maintain White Rock Lake. 




"The proposed Master Plan update, which will include the new pedestrian


gateway, will be reviewed by a neighborhood advisory committee appointed by


the Park Board," Mr. Griffith said.




The White Rock Lake Foundation and For The Love Of The Lake are two


organizations in the area that volunteer their time to support  the


improvement and to maintain the beauty of the lake.  Each organizes events,


whether to raise funds to support the White Rock Lake Master Plan or to


gather volunteers on a Saturday morning to clean the lake’s shores.  Because


of their presence, others know where to turn when they want to support the






It was the first call Richard Potter made.  On an afternoon ride along


Garland Road, Mr. Potter pulled into the now-closed original entrance of


White Rock Lake; he noticed two lanterns on the stone entrance.  After a


quick look, he immediately recognized the handiwork – the twists, the


pointed spires, the hammered iron texture, all were the handcrafted details


of his grandfather’s metalwork.  Mr. Potter called For The Love Of The Lake


and asked if they could run a proposal by the Parks and Recreation


Department.  He wanted to volunteer his time to refurbish the two lanterns


his grandfather created for the entrance in the 1930s.




"I think it’s cool to refurbish my grandfather’s lanterns," Mr. Potter said.


"Metalwork is a lost art of work."




After speaking with the Parks and Recreation Department, Mr. Potter found


out that the entrance initially had four lanterns.  He began work on the


surviving two lanterns in August, refinishing the exteriors, replacing the


glass, and paying attention to every minute detail his grandfather crafted.


Once the original lanterns are completed, he will make two identical ones to


match those of his grandfather.  Every aspect of the work will be completed


by hand.  All four lanterns will be mounted at the entrance of White Rock


Lake off of Garland Road, a perfect complement to the stone entryway and


wood and stone bridge now being restored to its 1930s appearance.




Many of these restorations taking place are part of plan put together by


nonprofit and city organizations in the area.  The White Rock Lake


Foundation along with the City of Dallas, the Parks and Recreation


Department, For The Love Of The Lake and other organizations, set the


guidelines for restoring and maintaining the lake’s natural beauty with the


completion and approval of the White Rock Lake and Park Master Plan.  With


everyone on the same page, the Master Plan and Design Guidelines outlines


the restoration, preservation, and development efforts at the lake and the






"The Master plan is what we hope to have done and by when," said Susan


Falvo, president of The White Rock Lake Foundation board of directors.  "All


input for the Master Plan update was comprised from several groups in the


area.  The problem was, nobody seemed to know about it."




With almost 3,000 homes, Lakewood is the largest neighborhood association in


the city of Dallas, but it also has a turnover of 300 homeowners a year.


Ms. Falvo has been visiting neighborhood associations throughout the area to


raise awareness for the Master Plan and what others can do to contribute.




"We’re just people.  Our group of 15 individuals has committed to raise


$150,000 over the next five years.  We could possibly raise $500,000 over


the next five years if other groups commit, as well," she said.




Ms. Falvo and others work with the city on an ongoing basis, campaigning for


bond issues to help beautify the lake and to organize events to raise


awareness of what an asset White Rock Lake is to the community.




"The community support for the lake and lake projects is invaluable to the


city and the council representatives," said Mayor Pro Tem Mary Poss.




In the past, community support has been instrumental in passing bonds to


financially improve the state of White Rock Lake.  Community support pushed


through the 1995 dredging of the lake.  In 1998 community support made it


possible to build hike-and-bike trails, as well as make renovations to


Winfrey Point and the Dreyfuss Club.




"There are people all over East Dallas and in the region incredibly


supportive of improving our lake," Ms. Poss said.  "White Rock Lake is


absolutely one of the treasures of our entire region.  It is once again a


great location for all types of recreational activities.  Dallas is


extremely fortunate to have such a tremendous jewel in the heart of the


city," she said.




And that’s exactly how Larry and Donna Bogart feel about the lake.  At least


once a week, the couple makes a point to go to the lake. Whether it is for


walking or bicycling, or just to spend the afternoon having a picnic, the


couple has always enjoyed spending time at White Rock Lake.




"We’re sandwiched in here in the urban areas and it’s nice to have a place


like White Rock," said Larry Bogart.  "It makes you feel like you are in the






So when the Bogarts were told they would have to cut down the Yaupon Holly


growing along side their home, their first thought was to donate the tree to


White Rock Lake rather than cutting it down.  They had planted the evergreen


in their yard in 1991.  At 10 years old, it had grown to 20 feet.  Although


they knew they wanted to donate the tree to the lake, they didn’t know whom


to call first. 




On one of their afternoon walks at the lake, the Bogarts noticed an


adopt-a-shoreline sign for the organization Greenbee.  The Bogarts


immediately began corresponding with Greenbee to locate a home for their


tree.  But since the tree had become so large, the couple had the additional


task of finding someone who could actually transplant the tree.  Greenbee


not only helped the Bogarts find a home for the Yaupon Holly, but also


coordinated with the Parks and Recreation Department to find someone to


transplant the tree and advise the best time of year for a move.




The Yaupon Holly now stands at Winfrey Point on the west side of the lake.




"I was really surprised when they picked that spot," Mr. Bogart said.  "It’s


a really prominent place.  It overlooks the city.  I was really happy to see


that tree go up there."




The Bogarts’ contribution was one made from their hearts.  It was a single


gift that illustrates how one person or one idea can contribute to an


overall effort.  Whether it is a person who volunteers to refurbish a


lantern, a planter or even a water fountain; or a person with an idea to


build a pathway as a pedestrian gateway to the lake; each of these


individuals and ideas contributes to improving the lake we all appreciate


and enjoy so much.