Preservationists Want to Stop the City from Building the Texas Horse Park Over Historic Spring

PenbertonDrinkingFromSpring.jpg
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Billy Pemberton, drinking from the spring a short walk from his house.
Tucked at the bottom of a hill off Highway 175 in southern Dallas there's a spring. That it hasn't been paved over is remarkable. That you can still cup your hand and drink from it without getting dysentery or guzzling a toxic chemical stew is little short of miraculous. This is the middle of the city, just a short hop from the decidedly less pristine junction of White Rock Creek and the Trinity River.

But there it is, beckoning travelers like an oasis just as it has for centuries. The Caddo Indians knew it. Sam Houston camped there in 1843 en route to a treaty conference with the Comanches and other tribes. John Neely Bryan, Dallas' founder, drew water from the spring for the home he built nearby. Bill Holston, and Dallas Trinity Trails both describe the spring well.

Pemberton Spring -- or Big Spring, or White Rock Spring, or Bryan Spring -- has been threatened before, by plans calling for sewer lines to pass through, or by a gravel operation next door, or by a business that tapped the spring as a handy water source. Each time, the threat has been averted with the help of the city.

Now, the spring's advocates say there's a new threat: the city itself. It just so happens to occupy the section of the Great Trinity Forest where the city plans to place the Texas Horse Park, and city surveyors have been spotted taking soil samples and driving stakes marked "barn" and "arena" a few dozen feet from the head of the spring.

We have an email into the city for their specific plans. For now, we'll rely on Hal and Ted Barker, whose open records requests sparked the movement that kept cars off Winfrey Point . They've launched a Save Pemberton's Big Spring Facebook page, where they're posting pictures, maps, and whatever other information they've gathered. Others are also spreading the word.

Ted Barker says he's been told by the city that the surveyors were mistaken when they drove the stakes marking the corner of the barn and arena. But he and his brother doubt that and are waiting on a large open records request regarding the city's plans. They figure the city's "running around the same way they did with Winfrey," he said. "The Barkers are on the loose again."

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22 comments
BettyC1
BettyC1

You know City is telling lie.I bet they had no idea spring was even there.

tbarker1
tbarker1

The Texas Open Records Request on issues for the proposed Horse Park are due in shortly.  The response will show the way for more information requests.  In the meantime, this article has helped increase awareness.  Thanks!

cjbwalton
cjbwalton

The Pemberton Spring is an awesome site, rich in history, flora and fauna. I went last week and decided to take my daughter's science class out there a couple of days later. It is a questionable picture choice, but Mr. Pemberton is drinking the spring water. 

nakedlens
nakedlens

I'd just like to know why we're still planning to build a "Horse Park", when there are a ton of potholes yet to be filled.

observist
observist topcommenter

When I saw the picture, I thought the guy was throwing up, or at least trying not to.

Gorgon
Gorgon

Perhaps we need to get the Land Mark Commission to designate the area and preserve the spring and the area around the spring 

Gorgon
Gorgon

 Perhaps we need to get the Land Mark Commission to designate the area and preserve the spring and the area around the spring 

tedbarker45
tedbarker45

Trinity Trails Blog combined with Bill's great article give us all a wonderful trip through an area I had never visited other than on the south and western fringe.  The new ATT trail map raises another spector of where a concrete 10' trail will go.  I am sure TRAC is somewhat concerned with this new alignment map.

Americano
Americano

If it's wonderful, the city will ruin it.

John1073
John1073

Surveyors don't make mistakes. Liars in city government offices certainly do though.

BillHolston
BillHolston

This is a wonderful special place. There's a huge Bur Oak, and another huge Walnut growing right next to this spot. You are about a mile to 2 miles from White Rock Creek. 

Frankly, I'm hopeful that the city will recognize what a wonderful, special spot this is and any building will be a long distance from this really pristine spot. 

You would not believe there's something like this in our city, but there it is, preserved for decades. 

Sharon_Moreanus
Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

Good luck....as if this is the first spring/creek the city had covered up/ built over.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

Go get 'em, you KNOW the city is fibbing when they say the stakes were misplaced.  Surveyors dont misplace, they put them exactly where they are supposed to go

tbarker1
tbarker1

@cjbwalton That kind of trip is exactly what should be considered as routine for the Park Board / City Council.  Walking the property at 811 Pemberton Hill Road (Park Dpt proptery), one can see why horse people would want to traverse this area.  But, a light footprint is in order, no permanent, large, expensive construction.  Day trips with corral and outbuildings that would have little flood damage, on the area closet to Elam Road.

tbarker1
tbarker1

@BillHolston  Bill, went out this weekend to see the Texas Post Oak Savanna remnant. Significant area where buildings are planned.   Help needed.

tbarker1
tbarker1

@dallasdrilling.wordpress.com @tbarker1  We hope to get the folks who are planning this thing down on the dirt, walking.  The reaction to put up a fence where a pasture fence already exists won't solve the lack of vision. Nah, they have the vision, just need to get certified smart people in front of them, out in the field.

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