Southlake, TX (May 29, 2007)- The Bob Jones Nature Center provides places of quiet recreation that promote respect for all forms of life, fosters learning experiences about the North Texas natural environment, engenders an enduring sense of community and its natural history, and preserve local natural resources.
The Bob Jones Nature Center conducts educational hikes, classes, camps, lunchtime series, and other outreach programs. In addition, their events include favorites such as the Great American Backyard and Bird Count, Harvest Trail, and Star Parties.
Bob Jones Park is named for John Dolford “Bob” Jones, the son of Leaser Alvis Jones and his slave, Elizabeth. His father/slave master purchased a farm east of Roanoke, Texas where Bob served as the sheepherder. After the Civil War, Bob, his brother, and their mother were set free and bought the 60-acre farm. Jones and his wife, Meady Chisum, and their 10 children worked the land and eventually owned almost 2,000 acres.
The Grapevine dam was completed in 1951. The lake that was to be formed was filled; the surrounding land-much of it Bob Jones’ land-was submerged. When the City of Southlake entered the picture, most of the remainder of the Jones’ original property had been divided among the children and grandchildren, and eventually sold.
In the 1950s developers hoped to subdivide roughly 80 acres adjacent to White’s Chapel road into small lots for access to the lake. In the mid-1990s Southlake took on an initiative to purchase the lots for a park. A unanimous decision by City Council honored the memory of Bob Jones by naming the park after him.
The city has since entered into a lease for 218 acres of U.S. Corps of Engineers property, purchased an adjacent horse ranch and an additional 30 acres at the far end of E. Bob Jones Road with lakefront access. Altogether the park represents nearly 500 acres of prime native Cross Timbers habitat.
As the city of Southlake purchased land for a park, a number of Southlake residents saw the value of preserving and conserving a prime remnant of the Cross Timbers ecosystem. In 2001 the Parks and Recreation Board appointed a Nature Center Development Committee to research the potential of a Southlake Nature Center. With the submission of the report, the City Council adopted a resolution that supported a nature center in Southlake.
Native Americans were using the land long before the Europeans came to what was to become America. The Cross Timbers ecosystem, part of an ancient archipelago that stretched form Canada to South America, was used as a source of fuel for fire, for water, shelter, and for the wildlife the used the interface between the prairies and the forests.
To find out more, visit the Bob Jones Nature Center.