The White Rock Boathouse facilities include three buildings on the southwest shore of White Rock Lake. All of our facilities have been leased from the city, repurposed with private funds, and are managed, maintained and administered by the staff and board of White Rock Boathouse, Inc. These facilities give the citizens of Dallas access to White Rock Lake for year-round social outings and events.
26,500 square feet
120+ racing shells from four rowing programs (White Rock, SMU, Jesuit Preparatory and Ursuline Academy)
3 boat bays
2 docks for launching and receiving boats
Hours of Operation are 5 am - 9 pm daily
1930s art deco style boathouse repurposed in 2003
Covered docks for coach launches for four rowing programs
Fee based storage for kayaks and canoes and paddleboards
THE FILTER BUILDING
The Filter Building is located at the southwest shore of White Rock Lake, with beautiful terraces and sweeping views. The building features exposed red brick
walls, original iron trusses, and many windows overlooking White Rock Lake.
The Filter Building is a perfect venue site for weddings, business meetings, reunions, parties and more. To learn more about The Filter Building and to book your next event please click HERE.
Proceeds from The Filter Building provide income for White Rock Rowing's juniors programs to offset the costs for every participant.
HISTORY OF THE FILTER BUILDING AND BOATHOUSE
The construction of White Rock Lake began in 1910 when Dallas was experiencing water shortages. The dam and coal-fired pump house, built on White Rock Creek, was completed in 1911. The creek initially ran through undeveloped countryside and farmland and the spring-fed water was pure enough to drink.
The lake filled rapidly and the pure water was pumped directly into city water mains with no filtration or chlorination. It didn’t take long for Dallas citizens to discover and enjoy the recreational benefits of the newly completed oasis. Swimming, fishing, duck hunting and even construction of weekend shacks on stilts over the lake were permitted and negatively influenced water quality over time.
In about 1915, notices began appearing in the Dallas Morning News advising East Dallas residents to boil their tap water before drinking or cooking with it!
The filter building and sedimentation basins were then constructed in 1922. Water was allowed to flood into the sedimentation basins from the lake where sand, mud and other debris settled out. The water was next allowed to flow through a serpentine channel below the filter building where chlorine was added and dissolved from a mixing plant on the second floor. The water next flowed through six pairs of sand filters located in the basement of the building, then through an enormous eight-foot diameter pipe to the adjacent pump house. These waterworks still exist today beneath The Filter Building.
White Rock Lake water was used by the City for many years, but the construction of the many lakes in North Texas: Lewisville, Grapevine, Towakoni, Cedar Creek Lake, and Lake Ray Hubbard in the 1950’s, supplanted White Rock and its aging equipment. The White Rock facility was closed, and the filter building doors and windows bricked closed in 1963. Woodrow Wilson High School students still managed to sneak into the basement and the initials and names of several current Lakewood residents may still be found “graffitied” on the walls below.
In 2003, the sport of rowing on White Rock Lake consisted of SMU Women’s Crew and a Highland Park High School Club team rowing from facilities in the Bath House basement. John Mullen, a founder of the Dallas Rowing Club and Sam Leake, a cycling and triathlon coach at the Tom Landry Sports Medicine and Research Center, was also teaching basic rowing lessons on the lake, founded a 501(c)3 charitable corporation, White Rock Boathouse, Inc. The mission was to introduce the sport of rowing to the citizens of Dallas, primarily Dallas area high school students.
An agreement was made between White Rock Boathouse, Inc and the City of Dallas, to repurpose the abandoned water works facilities, $2.7 million was raised privately and the facilities were restored and adapted for rowing. The Filter Building was restored and renovated into an event venue whose net revenue supports the White Rock Boathouse outreach rowing programs. From our mission statement;
The Filter Building event venue is the latest addition to our facilities. Rental income from The Filter Building supports the rowing programs of the juniors rowing program, providing reduced fees, financial aid and scholarship.