A Guide to the History of Dallas, Texas

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Bathhouse Cultural Center

Bathhouse Cultural CenterIn 1981, the White Rock bathing beach Bath House, which sat vacant and unused for nearly thirty years, reopened as the Bath House Cultural Center. Today in former locker rooms, where patrons showered after swimming in the lake, the BHCC hosts art exhibits, plays, concerts, and a variety of similar activities. For more information, see the official Bath House web site, where you can obtain information about upcoming events.

In 1930, during the administration of "hot dog" Mayor J. Waddy Tate, a bathing beach, complete with sand, was established on the eastern shore of White Rock Lake. The Art Deco-style bath house seen here was built so that swimmers could have a place to change from their street clothes into their swimming suits and to shower afterward. Refreshment stands, located on the lower level, sold hamburgers, hot dogs, and soft drinks to hungry and thirsty patrons. The structure, designed by the Dallas architectural firm of Carsey and Linskie, is made largely of concrete, covered with white plaster.

A concrete "apron" or slab below the water line, several yards wide and extending out into the lake, made for a firmer footing than the mud and the silt of the lakeshore. On the day the beach first opened, it was only about two-thirds covered, owing to the drought that then prevailed. At that time, the level of the lake was about three feet below the top of the spillway. The apron, along with a concrete diving platform and the light poles that illuminated the swimming area are still in place nearly fifty years later!

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