While doing research, T. L. Marsalis (Dallas Zoo history), Lake Cliff Park, Kidd Springs and Rebel Stadium provided so much history as to how Oak Cliff was developed and what drew people to Oak Cliff. A very young area with very few residents made the area so popular that vacant lots in developing areas were sold in no time.
Taken from Lake Cliff Tower history:
Most of Lake Cliff lies within the original township of Oak Cliff, officially established in1887. At this time, a steam-powered streetcar service from downtown Dallas ran across the Trinity and branched south to an area that became Oak Cliff’s commercial center,and west along Colorado Blvd., and extended to Spring Lake (later known as Lake Cliff),a large man-made pond.
A social club, known as the Llewellyn Club, excavated the lake and built a clubhouse in 1888. The lake became a focal point of development, and the old clubhouse was converted into a sanitarium that was open for several years. In 1906, Oak Cliff businessman Charles A. Mangold and John F. Zang acquired the land around Lake Cliff and transformed the area into an amusement park in order to encourage surrounding development and increase the value of land they had purchased. Despite its popularity, the Lake Cliff Amusement Park proved too expensive to operate and the land was sold to the city in 1913.
Lake Cliff Amusement Park, compliments of Dallas Public Library:
The first pages tell how the park was built and key players. Pages 16-34 are pictures of the rides and other attractions.
ong after the Amusement Park burned and the City of Dallas bought the park, Lake Cliff still had memories to hold. For years, it had one of the largest pools ever. It was probably 4 times the size of Kidd Springs, today, maybe more.
What I remember most about the pool and the area, were the inner tubes we rented. I guess the tube was bigger than us at the time, but it was a lot of fun to lounge in the water on that tube.
Across the street was the Polar Bear Ice Cream stand that looks like a crown. An older lady in our neighborhood remembers well the Pig Stand Drive In that was near the corner of Zang and Colorado.
Ron’s been going though some of his parents old photos and came across this pic of Lake Cliff Park pool circa 1952 — you can make out Cliff Towers in the background behind the trees…Old Oak Cliffites who spent many an hour floating on inner tubes in this giant pool may remember that it was filled in because of the polio scare…
Click the link and there should be a picture at the top that will enlarge when clicked-on, or scroll down to the photo. (Visualize the pool as big as this link!) But it was a lot of fun.
I know it sat on the back of the park away from Zang, but it was huge, and could have included a portion of the lake, too. When it was filled in, I remember the tennis courts, but that would only be a small portion compared to that pool.