As told to Keri Mitchell by Sally Rodriguez, retired Dallas Park and Recreation Department historian. All photos are courtesy of the Dallas Municipal Archives and curated by Rodriguez. She authored the books “White Rock Lake” and “White Rock Lake Revisited,” available at area bookstores and through arcadiapublishing.com.
April 15, 1945: “Air Giant Forced Down for Refueling” was the headline on this Dallas Morning News photo. It was given to Sally Rodriguez by the banker who was assisting on her home refinance loan. “It was in his grandmother-in-law’s scrapbook, and he knew about my passion for White Rock Lake, so when he found it, he gave it to me,” she says. The photo’s caption told of a “more than 50,000-pound flying boat plane” that made a forced landing on the east shore of White Rock Lake. The Navy PBM long-range bomber “rested at anchor” while its 12-man crew waited for an emergency gas truck from Love Field. The plane landed at 6:30 p.m. on a Friday night when the pilot “became doubtful if the gas supply would last to Eagle Mountain Lake.” According to the pilot, White Rock Lake was “ample for such flying boats to land in and take off.” It remained in the lake until 2:30 p.m. Saturday.