Municipal Archives

Resources for Researching City of Dallas Parks​​

Pathfinder Number 2

​The City of Dallas Park and Recreation Department provides leisure, recreational, and cultural activities for the citizens of Dallas and the general public.  The Department maintains more than 21,000 park acres including 4,400 surface acres of water at 17 park sites, 17,196 acres of greenbelt/parkland and 61.6 miles of jogging and bike trails at 24 locations.  There are over 400 individual parks, including recreational facilities such as community centers, swimming pools, athletic fields, and a metropolitan zoo.  The City's first two parks, City Park (purchased in 1876) and Fair Park (purchased in 1904), predate the organization of the Park and Recreation Department. 

Parks are the cornerstones of community and much is revealed about the history of neighborhoods through departmental correspondence, memoranda, financial records, reports and studies, plans and drawings, photographs and printed materials.  In general, collections document the acquisition, planning and design, maintenance, and history of City of Dallas parks and park facilities. 

Manuscript and Paper-based Materials

  • 1991-011 White Rock Lake, 1909-1910
  • 1991-079 Fair Park, 1888-1930, 1972-1992
  • 1991-101 Park and Recreation - Brochures and Publications, 1977-1999
  • 1991-112 City of Dallas Parks, 1889-1995
  • 1991-128 Department of Park and Recreation - Management Study, 1991
  • 1992-018 Portraits of Park Board Members, 1905-1939
  • 1995-021 White Rock Lake Dredging, 1930-1942
  • 1995-022 White Rock Lake General Subject Files, 1921-1991
  • 1995-023 Dallas Department of Park and Recreation General Subject Files, 1911-1960
    Subject files consist of records on individual parks and Park Department activities.  These files often include correspondence with neighborhood groups, petitions for park amenities and activities and information about park design, construction and maintenance over time.  They frequently include maps showing not only the park but also the entire neighborhood.  Occasionally, these maps show property ownership.

  • 1995-024 Park System (Publication), 1915
  • 1995-025 Park Board Annual Reports, 1911-1995, 2002-2003
  • 1995-026 Dallas Department of Park and Recreation Construction and Concessions, 1923-1940
  • 1995-027 Fair Park, 1905-1918; 1930-1952
  • 1995-030 Everette Lee DeGolyer Estate, 1972-1990
  • 1995-031 W. W. Samuell Estate, 1886-1977
  • 1995-032 Park and Recreation Department Subject Files: Dealey Plaza, 1940-1942
  • 1995-033 Recreation Manuals, 1943-1983
  • 1995-035 Dallas Zoo (Marsalis Park), 1952-1955, 1968-1980, 1991
  • 1995-036 Dallas Police Department Park Patrol Manuals, 1957-1985
  • 1995-037 Park and Playground System (Publication), 1921-1923
  • 1995-038 Maps - Dallas Park and Recreation Department
  • 1995-039 Memorials and Monuments, 1936, 1959-1982
  • 1995-040 Park Department - Management Studies, 1977-1981
  • 1995-041 Audit Reports and Budgets - Dallas Park and Recreation Funds, 1931-1961
  • 1995-042 Park Department Time Logbooks, c. 1912-1920
  • 1995-043 Park Department Works Progress Administration Records, 1939-1940
  • 1995-044 White Rock Lake Improvements, 1956-1982
  • 1995-045 State Fair of Texas Reports and Studies, 1908-1986
  • 1995-046 Dallas Museum of Art, 1926+
  • 1995-047 Grauwyler Park and John and Emma Grauwyler, 1827-1963
  • 1996-003 Dallas Park and Recreation Department Centennial History Working Papers and Research Materials, 1972-1976
  • 1996-015 Fair Park Aquarium Feasibility Study, 1994
  • 1996-022 Wildflower Research Center, 1983
  • 1996-023 Dallas Health and Science Museum, 1947-1985
  • 1996-032 Dallas Museum of Natural History, 1967-1981, undated
  • 1997-023 Fair Park Improvements, 1941-1980, undated
  • 1997-030 City Park - Preliminary Research Brochure by James A. Newett, 1965
  • 1997-032 Park Board Secretary Correspondence, 1970
  • 1997-033 Juanita Jewel Craft Recreation Center Dedication, 1974
  • 1997-035 Natural Open Space Plan, 1979
  • 1997-037 Park Board and Lady Bird Johnson, 1975
  • 2002-001 Dallas Park and Recreation Department Plans and Drawings, 1911-1960
  • 2002-007 Fair Park Mural Conservation, 2001-2003
  • 2003-002 Dallas Park and Recreation Department Photograph Collection, 1910-2004
  • 2003-009 Park and Recreation Department Renaissance Plan
  • 2003-010 History of the Dallas Zoo
  • 2003-015 Report on the Dallas Park System, 1934
  • 2004-002 Park and Recreation Department Property History, 1959
  • 2004-003 Oak Cliff Boulevard Median Plans, 1925-1946
  • 2004-005 Dallas Park Board
  • 2004-006 Dallas Park and Recreation Department Reports, Studies, and Administrative Documents, 1964-2004
  • 2005-002 Sid Stahl Dallas Park Board Papers, 1975-1979
  • 2005-006 Fair Park Esplanade Sculpture Conservation Report, 2004
  • 2006-003 Dallas Park Department Recreation Centers and Facilities
  • 2008-002 Earl Hart Family - White Rock Lake Collection, 1926-1948
  • 2011-001 Goforth Family Papers
  • 2012-006 Dallas Park and Recreation Department Plaques and Memorials Documentation, 1971-1979
  • 2013-002 Kidd Springs Creative Playground Scrapbook and Photographs
  • 2017-005 Emil Fretz Collection, 1854-1928
  • 2018-012 Fair Park Operations Collection
  • 2018-015 Park and Recreation Department Public Relations
  • 2020-001 Willis Winters Park and Recreation Department Administrative Records, 2013-2019
  • 2020-002 Tim Dalbey Dallas Archaeological Reports and Studies

Maps, Plans, and Drawings

Collection 1999-001—Map Collection, 1868

Maps created mostly by City departments for various city government functions, such as planning and public works. Maps often include information about parks, city limits, extent of neighborhood development and transportation details such as interurban lines, bus lines, and train tracks. Early maps reveal land use prior to park development.

Collection 2002-001—Park and Recreation Department Plans and Drawings, 1903-2002

Plans and drawings depicting the design, planning, construction, planting plans,  and renovations of City of Dallas parks.


Collection 2003-002—Dallas Park and Recreation Department Photographs [Addition], 1910-2004
Of special interest are a subseries of oblique aerial photographs of individual parks, many showing neighborhoods and surrounding lands.

Collection 1999-003—City Photographer, 1950-1997
Black and white and color photographic negatives and prints documenting people, places, and events concerning Dallas city government. Although city government is the focus of this collection, photographs include parks, recreation centers, and events held at parks around Dallas. Photographs prior to 1950 by the City Photographer are located in the Texas/Dallas History & Archives division of the Dallas Public Library.

Collection 2003-001—Aerial Map Photographs of Dallas, Texas 1930, 1949, 1974, 1979
Aerial photographs of the entire City of Dallas for use by the city’s Public Works and Planning Departments.  Maps can be used to examine existing structures.

Collection 1992-018—Portraits of Park Board Members, 1905-1939

City Council Minutes, Ordinances, and Resolutions

Collection 1994-010City Council Minutes - Bound Volumes, 1866-1977
Collection 1996-040City Ordinances - Bound Volumes, 1871-1978

Dallas City Council’s official records, including minutes of the Dallas City Council (and earlier forms of government), from 1868 to the present, are available for research in paper, electronic, and micrographic forms.  Complete earlier records  for 1868-1955 and 1977-1997 are available for viewing via paper and microfilm; years 1956-1976 are available only on paper.  Records may be viewed at the Dallas Municipal Archives and Records Center.  Original contracts and memoranda are not included in the microfiche; contact the Archives for details.

Council minutes, agendas, ordinances, and resolutions from 1995 to the present are available in electronic form on the City Secretary’s Office website.

Note: Pathfinders are guides, they are not exhaustive lists.  Review the full complement of Collection Guides to further your own research.