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.
Norbuck Park was named for Northwest Highway and Buckner. It is part of the original tracts of White Rock Lake that were acquired in 1909-10, then transferred to the Park and Recreation Department in 1929. The eastbound lanes of Northwest Highway were added in the 1950s. Here, the photo shows the early development of the park and construction of the ball fields. Where crews are working is actually the old Buckner, which they moved slightly to the west, where it is now. So the parking lot in Norbuck is actually the old Buckner Boulevard. You can see that there are no trees where it went through. Next to it is the old East Lawther, which is now on the other side of Buckner, but used to be part of the lake. In 1932, you could still see water there.
As you can see from their small size, all of the trees were newly planted. The only houses are new and to the east. You can still see the old well that was at the corner of Buckner and Northwest Highway, where people used to get water during the drought in the 1950s. And look how small Audelia is coming into Northwest Highway, when it was just a two-lane road.
See that little triangle to the west of the houses? The developer gave that to the city. The city’s property line used to angle through where the houses are today. So we swapped land and gave them this land on the other side of the residential street [Classen] for this little triangle of land here. If you look at the aerials, there’s still a tree line marking the triangle.
In the bottom photo from the ‘60s, we’re looking south. You see the ball fields are fully developed and the trees have grown. Even here, you can still see the scarring from the old route of Buckner to the east of where they constructed it in the ’50s. There is Hexter Elementary School near the top left corner, and you can see Audelia is still a little two-lane road. Mockingbird now comes across the creek to meet Buckner — look how white the concrete is. You can tell it’s before they dredged to create Mockingbird Point [where the dog park is now].