The U.S. Navy first scouted White Rock Lake as a possible training ground, where it built a boathouse and barracks and began training sailors in the 1920s. Any young men aged 17-35 could join the Naval Reserve and learn to sail. As the Depression ravaged the nation, President Franklin D. Roosevelt fought back with the New Deal and the Civilian Conservation Corps, which provided jobs building public works projects all over the country. From 1935-42, crews of men aged 18-24 built the Flag Pole Hill picnic pavilion, the East Lawther Drive entrance bridge, Big Thicket, Winfrey Point and Sunset Bay recreation building, among others. During WWII, German prisoners of war were housed in the camps, where conditions were so good, it became known as the “Fritz Ritz.” In 1951, the buildings were knocked down and replaced by baseball fields, but a statue was erected to honor the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps. (Source: Texas State Historical Association, The Dallas Morning News)
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