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The U.S. Navy at White Rock Lake
In 1922 the United States Naval Reserve established a training station at White Rock Lake. Described by a newspaper reporter as "one of the neatest and attractive structures on the shores of the lake," the station consisted of "a drill hall, 50 x 50 feet, a gearhouse, and dockroom for five cutters" (although the White Rock reservists may never have had more than three of these large boats at any one time). The precise location of the station is uncertain but some slight evidence suggests it may have been at the northern end of the lake, in the vicinty of the present-day boat clubs. How long the station lasted is equally unsure but it was probably gone by the mid-1930s. The latest mention of it in a Dallas newspaper was in July 1931.
The 150-man unit was originally commanded by Lt. Carl Hilton. After being placed on active duty with the Navy, Hilton was succeeded in 1924 by Lt. Jack S. DuNelman. Sometime before 1929, DuNelman was succeeded by Lt. H. Bascom Thomas.
Throughout the year the reservists could be seen on the lake in their cutters, receiving instruction in seamanship. These 31-man lug-rigged cutters may have been the very first vessels that had official permission to ply the waters of White Rock Lake.
Each year the reservists spent two weeks aboard a U.S. Navy vessel at sea, generally operating in the Gulf of Mexico and/or Caribbean Sea. In August 1929, forty-seven Dallas sailors (along with 5 officers and a press correspondent) took a cruise aboard the U.S.S. Mahan to Havana, Cuba. The Dallas Morning News of August 8, 1929 identified them as:
Sources: Dallas Morning News, May 24 & 26, June 16, November 2, and December 1, 1924, February 14, 1928, August 11, 1929, February 27, 1930 and July 15, 1931.
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