DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR
MARBLE FALLS — When Marble Falls Parks and Recreation director Robert Moss began putting together a proposal to nominate Johnson Park for Lone Star Legacy Park honors, he had a 127 years of history and stories to use, but something was still missing.
“We have a lot of stories — written and oral — and I have some really old photos, but my challenge has been finding photos from the 1930s and ’40s,” he said. “That’s what I need.”
The Lone Star Legacy Park designation signifies the role a park plays within its community. Moss said about 20 parks across the state have earned the honor.
Johnson Park, officially Adam Johnson Park, seems to fit the bill of a legacy park. Town founders platted the park when they laid out the town, making it as old as Marble Falls itself. With the large oak trees — some that might be 600 years or older — and numerous pecan trees shading the area, Johnson Park has been a great gathering place over the years.
“Many, if not all, of our community festivals are held in Johnson Park,” Moss said. Those events include Howdy Roo, LakeFest and MayFest.
The first meetings of what would become First Baptist Church of Marble Falls started in the park. People also have used the park for family outings, playing ball and just having fun.
But during the Great Depression, Johnson Park served as the home for people looking for work.
“There was a tent city set up during the ’30s of people looking for work,” Moss said.
During that decade, the Depression gripped most of the country and many people were out of work.
At the time, the fledgling Lower Colorado River Authority was building what would become Buchanan Dam and Inks Lake Dam — projects that brought the promise of jobs.
“If they thought there was a chance at work, people would come from across Texas — even farther,” Moss said.
Tents were set up by workers and those looking for jobs in Johnson Park.
“But, I don’t have any photos of it or anything really from those years,” Moss said. “If anybody has any photos of Johnson Park from the ’30s and ’40s, we could really use them.”
The photos don’t have to be of anything major such as the tent city but ones that simply depict people using the park for picnicking, playing or relaxing.
The photos, combined with the other information Moss has collected, will make up the packet for the Lone Star Legacy Park proposal.
“It’s really not a competition,” Moss said of the program. “It’s basically a recognition of the park’s importance to the community.”
Anyone with photos of the park during the 1930s and ’40s may contact Moss at (830) 798-6250.