Dallas City Hall is Pledging to Preserve the Southern Dallas Spring that Once Quenched Sam Houston, John Neely Bryan

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for PenbertonDrinkingFromSpring.jpg
Billy Pemberton, drinking from the spring a short walk from his house.
Neighbors were growing concerned about the fate of Pemberton Spring. In recent months, surveyors with the city had come within spitting distance of the site as they drilled soil samples and staked out buildings for $10 million Texas Horse Park. They feared the imminent disappearance of the spring, which has stayed remarkably pristine in the generations since Sam Houston camped there with his treaty party and Dallas founder John Neely Bryan built his home nearby.

The grassroots campaign to protect the site had barely gotten underway when the city swore off plans to build anywhere close to the water.

"The project does not include the area surrounding the natural spring located on other City property in the area," assistant city manager Jill Jordan wrote last week in a memo to the City Council. "However, as part of our ongoing efforts to preserve existing features in the Great Trinity Forest, a fence will be installed around the perimeter this month and interpretive signage will be developed to mark this unique asset."

It's been the city's line all along that it has no intention of damaging the spring and that the surveyors made a mistake. For some reason, though, the site's protectors put more faith in the physical markers left by surveyors than in the word of City Hall.

Anyways, it's much better for everyone to have it in writing.

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41DL72 is the name of the archeology site. If one looks at an old plat map for the site one will see that it covers a wide swath of land of many acres on a terrace that encompasses not only Big Spring but also extends to the south across a power line right of way and into 811 Pemberton Hill Road.

This is one of, maybe the only remaining Native American site of this type left in Dallas. It is a pure cultural treasure. The artifacts recovered in a preliminary city contracted archeology dig date back to a time when Paris and London were just wide spots in the road. The city, as a land steward, needs to excavate the entire site. Will they?

The concern over destruction is very real folks. I hate to say it. As recently as December, the city had plans to build a 2,000 gallon fuel dump and compost here. At that time, the city said the same thing that they said this past week in regards to preservation. Previous plans had barns and other buildings surrounding the Spring with little regard to the site. In 1989, the city wanted to put a sewer line through the site.

My question is what do they consider "preserving" and "preservation"? Water is getting muddy on that real quick. Where is this all going?

I see the city is spending/approved  over $100,000 for artwork at the Horse Park what about the pre-historic artisans who sat in the terrace down there and made stone tools. Is there money for them?


Good for the city. Thank you. I hope that the planning continues to leave a wide berth away from this spring, pond and historic trees. The Walnut (juglans negra) and Bur Oak (quercos macrocarpa) are both beautiful very old and rare specimens in this area. They've survived the 1908 flood here and the shade provided is splendid. 

thanks again city planners for a light touch here. 

primi_timpano topcommenter

So what is the horse dung going to do to this pristine spring?


Thanks to the DO for taking time to shine a light on the issue.  We are all pleased to hear about the spring. 

There is already a fence around the area, the old paddock fence line which is set off so that there is a wide open space for the aesthetic of the spring experience.  With a square mile of property, the THP does not need to be piggish. It is for the children. 

The next step is for the City to cough up the environmental impact  study and the mandated report by Global Marine for the very large Native American archaeological site which is hard by the (properly marked) survey stakes. 

We can see that the City does have eyes and ears on the subject. Pictures do tell a story. Let's all hope that we shall see a (Name Here)  Big Spring Educational and Archaeological Center in the very near future.

Oh, forgot the large Post Oak Savanna terrace on the site for the main buildings, just sayin', dontcha' know.


RE:  "Dallas founder John Neely Bryan built his home nearby."

Not to split hairs but should read "built a home nearby" so as not to confuse this with any debate over the little log cabin downtown.


@BillHolston Bill, I also loved the huge Bois d' Arc tree down in the bottoms. That was the biggest one I have ever seen.  

There also has to be a definite plan to preserve what is left of Oak Creek and Bryan's Slough in that same trekking area.

New topic: ATT Trail

We also need to address the type of 10' trail that ATT and the City are proposing. That trail appears to run through the beaver dam and the large plot with the acres of flowers.  Right next to that proposed trail (which ends at Juno Rd intersection) is a permanent swamp. Trees have black water marks on them at at least the 10' to 12' level down there. Not an ideal place for a concrete trail.  Anyone who has used the White Rock Trail near Fair Oaks and Royal know of flooding consequences for downed trees and foot thick mud on the trail.

We now have photos of flood conditions near the 412 foot level as the old spike shows at the spring.


Whoops,  Global Marine should read Geo-Marine.  Little birds tell me that the current report has not been completed.  The older version of Geo-Marine published in 2009 shows that there are areas of interest, at "Sam Houston Springs project".  

We have not seen a published dialogue about the original report and nothing on the current report.

No trace of an environmental report found as of this writing.

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