DALLAS, TX (Oct. 28, 2022) Last night our Blue Ribbon News team traveled back in time through the streets of Dallas’ first and oldest park – a greenspace that maintains a collection of historic buildings and furnishings as old as 1840 – and perhaps even, ghosts?
While caretakers at Old City Park say they cannot confirm or deny any “special presences” onsite, they can say that some of the staff and visitors have reported some very strange and interesting experiences.
Located at 1515 South Harwood in Dallas, this piece of land became Dallas’ first city park in 1876, when it was simply called City Park. During our tour we learned that the Cedars neighborhood “grew up” around City Park in the late 1880s and 1890s. The city’s first zoo was located here, and it was home to Browder Springs – which now flows underground. The springs served as the first water supply with wooden water main carrying water to the city. A pump house, pond, pavilion, fountain, and greenhouses are revealed on turn-of-the-century maps.
Old City Park’s website explains: “After World War II, many people moved to the suburbs around Dallas and highways were built to get them in to the city for work. Interstate 30 cut the Cedars neighborhood off from downtown, leaving the neighborhood and the park in decline. The future of City Park looked dim until a group of women determined to save a historic plantation house from the wrecking ball offered the park a new role in the culture of Dallas. The ladies who rescued Millermore stored the disassembled pieces in a warehouse, and then called Ray Hubbard, president of the park board. He agreed with their idea to reconstruct the house in City Park, where it became the first of 21 buildings transported here to become a village.”
Millermore opened as a museum in 1969. Now in 2022, Old City Park’s mission is “to provide a recreational space where visitors can connect with the past, inspire the future and celebrate Dallas’ rich diversity.”
Hauntingly Good Time
Peggy and Emily served as our paranormal tour guides, allowing our group to experience some of the traditional and modern tools of ghost hunting first-hand. Through EMF (electromagnetic frequency) meters, a spirit box and portal, Victorian dowsing rods, and a REM pod (REM stands for “radiating electromagneticity”), visitors were invited to try to connect with “folks from the past.”
We began our journey at The Millermore, where our host described an experience in which a lady in a long brown dress ascended the stairs, long after the park had closed for the night and other staff had gone home. Upon following her up the stairs, the mystery woman vanished.
When asked “Is anyone here with us?”, the spirit box (a device that jumps through AM radio channels) answered “here” and said the name “Phillip” (amid a stream of indiscernible words and white noise). A few minutes later, our tour guide tried out a new ghost app on her cell phone, and it too said the name Phillip – as well as the words “communicate” and “I’m agitated.”
While in The Sullivan House, the EMF meter alerted more than a handful of times, and the REM pod signaled when placed on the stairs where a ghostly girl in a yellow dress has reportedly appeared. Our host told of repeated tales of loud, unexplainable banging on the home’s back door, and the turning of the locked door handle.
These spooky tales and more were shared in the dark as we weaved our way through the village, employing our flashlights for a better look at all the historic homes, the Alamo Saloon, an old schoolhouse, antique furnishings, and family heirlooms – even a Victorian-era framed display of locks of human hair.
We look forward to returning to Old City Park again soon to explore more of the grounds, soak up the history, and experience all the greenspace has to offer – from workshops and blacksmithing classes to educational experiences for young and old alike.
Next up on their calendar is Candlelight at Old City Park on Dec. 11 and 12, when visitors will be able to sing along with strolling carolers and visit with St. Nicholas. All 13 acres will be decked out for the holidays, with candlelit walkways in the evening.
To learn more about Candlelight: https://oldcityparkdallas.org/dhv-events/candlelight-2/
For information and booking of a paranormal investigate tour, visit https://oldcityparkdallas.org/event/paranormal-investigation-tour-6/.
To learn more about Old City Park and all its offerings, visit https://oldcityparkdallas.org/.
By Dawn Redig, Blue Ribbon News. Photos by Blue Ribbon News, except as otherwise noted.
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