Kidd Springs Park is named for "Colonel" J.W. Kidd and the natural spring located in the area. However, the spring is not located within the historic 31-acre park.
The spring was located on the land Kidd purchased in 1874 from Mrs. S.E. Winston. According to the Dallas Parks and Recreation Department, the spring is located on N. Vernon Street and a pipe carries the water to the lake within the park.
Today, it is hard to imagine the impressive flow of water that, in 1879, prompted the Dallas City Council to briefly consider using it as a source of drinking water. Â Kidd's cousin, Wilbur M. Kidd, described the spring in the 1870's: Â "The spring was a gushing fountain in the side of the hill, and water raced away down the valley, making a creek."
Kidd's son, Jim, created the first swimming facility in the park by using a fallen tree to dam the water. In 1887, Kidd sold the land to Edward P. Turner, who created a lake far larger than the current one, in 1895. Turner also opened a private club, the Kidd Springs Boating and Fishing Club. Many prominent Oak Cliff and Dallas residents became members.
A Times Herald new article published in 1895 ran with the headline,
"Pleasure Resort of Great Excellence is being arranged in the suburbs" and described "the famous springs, surrounded by a thick grove of pecan trees, interspersed with walnut, persimmon, plum, and other trees." The reporter described the lake being formed with assistance from nature in the form of a natural ravine as being 500 yards long and 200 yards wide. "At the head of the lake will be a miniature island," the article continued, "which will be graced with a pagoda in the center, gainable by rustic bridges, and complete in other appointments."
When Wirt Davis acquired Kidd Springs in 1910, it was opened to the general public, with an admission charge as well as charges for various activities. As Lake Cliff Amusement Park declined in popularity and then closed, Kidd Springs became an increasingly popular place for summer entertainment. Although it did not have a roller coaster, Ferris wheel or 3 theaters as Lake Cliff did, visitors enjoyed the large pool with a giant slide, a mill wheel device, and various diving boards, platforms and towers for divers. The large pavilion was a popular spot for dancing and other events.
In 1947, the city of Dallas purchased 31.32 acres from Turner for $125,000. The park expanded to its present size of 31.32 acres in 1970. The firm of Hare and Hare designed a landscaping plan in 1954. In 1958, much of the old pool was filled in, when the present day swimming pool was built. The pavilion was demolished.
A private gift in 1969 from Dr. and Mrs. Jack Edwards provided funds to create a Japanese garden. Unfortunately, most of the original garden was destroyed by vandals. The garden was restored in with funds provided to the Dallas Parks and Recreation Department by a City of Dallas bond election.
Today, the park also features a recreation center, shaded walking paths, and a large playground area.
In 2003, eight 18-foot tall flowering crepe myrtle trees donated by Mr. Ralph Pinkus were planted.
One of the newest features in the park is the Butterfly Garden on Canty Street.
The garden, which FOCP and Kidd Springs residents started in Fall of 2006, attracts a variety of butterflies. Hundreds of butterfly host and nectar plants were donated by Texas Discovery Gardens. The Butterfly Garden was dedicated in November, 2006 with the presence of city officials, Kidd Springs Neighborhood Association, and members of FOCP.A wrought iron fence that surrounds the area was donated and constructed by Luis Spinola of Azteca Construction.
In 2008, a memorial tree was planted in honor of Ginger Riley, a founding member of FOCP, in a ceremony for family, friends, former students, and FOCP members.
700 W. Canty St. Dallas, TX 75201