‘The Cold Spot’ of White Rock Creek, a history mystery (or maybe it’s nothing)

1. Part of Miller Road (renamed Fair Oaks)
2. Greenville Avenue/Richardson Road
5. Abrams Road
10. ‘The Cold Spot’ (area on Greenville Avenue with 10-degree average lower temperature than the surrounding area)
11. White Rock Creek
12. Deuback Skating Rink

Aerial image of the northern White Rock Creek Area, created in the 1930s or 40s by Lloyd M. Long, provided by the Edwin J. Foscue Map Library, Southern Methodist University.

There is evidence that a microclimate — which might be explained by meteorology or the mystical, depending on your proclivities — has existed, maybe still does, near White Rock Creek in the Moss Park vicinity.

In perusing historical images, a thing I love to do for fun, I came across a labeled aerial of the north White Rock Creek area, taken in the 1930s or ‘40s. One in a collection of 41 miscellaneous aerial photographs of Dallas, created by photographer Lloyd M. Long, it’s stored at a Southern Methodist University library. On the photo I located the thing I was looking for — evidence of an ancient racetrack on the Harry S. Moss Park land, which we shall get to later.

Because frankly there was a more captivating item on the image — the key shows a little area that traverses Greenville, south of (what is now) Royal Lane, identified as “The Cold Spot.”

The Cold Spot? All specific and stuff. On a serious document. Weird.

In parenthesis, the legend notes, “Area on Greenville Avenue near White Rock Creek with 10 degree average lower temperature than the surrounding area.” The notation left more questions than answers. We asked our city archivist (more on him on p. 12), two local meteorologists and a climate studies professor at a nearby university if they knew anything about it. Among those who called us back, none had an answer, for the record.

Native prairie and nature experts Mark Bulloch and Roger “Plant Man” Sanderson, go-to sources for past Harry S. Moss Park articles who grew up in the area, say they vaguely recall an “eerie” part of the grounds that frequently was especially foggy and, now that you mention it, chilly.

According to various published papers and  articles, a cold spot is what scientists call a “microclimate.” As small as a rooftop garden or large as a city subdivision, a microclimate differs by at least 10 degrees from bordering areas. Woodlands can be cooler and less windy than surrounding grassland, therefore have the potential to produce microclimates. Certain soil conditions also can affect the air temperature. Other meteorological explanations (coastal causes, high elevation) do not apply in this case.

Sure, we knew (something like) that.

Although … there is another possible explanation. A more-enticing one.

In his book, “Paranormal Chronicles,” Neal Clark writes, “In paranormal research the prevailing theory is that when an entity is trying to manifest itself, it draws on many sources of energy. One of those sources is the heat energy in the air. As the entity draws the heat out of the air, the area in that specific location becomes cold, at least 10 degrees lower than the surrounding area.”

After all, White Rock is one of the world’s “most haunted bodies of water,” according to Reader’s Digest.

And … to be continued … I’m going to tell you about so many people who have died in and around White Rock Lake. So come back soon.

6 Comments
  1. I find this puzzling, as Greenville and Royal are nowhere near White Rock Lake. There is a lowland there to be sure – I remember it flooding after a heavy rain there when I was a child – but White Rock Lake is miles away on the far side of Abrams Road and far south of where Royal runs. Could you explain this, please?

    1. Yes! White Rock Creek begins north of Dallas and flows southward into White Rock Lake. In fact, most of the trash that accumulates along the lake shores comes courtesy of Frisco, Plano and suburbia.When that Moss Park area floods it is coming from the creek. At least this is what I have learned from various sources over years of covering the White Rock/Lake Highlands area, but if anyone has better intel, I invite them please to join the conversation! (Also the trail that runs through Moss is the White Rock Creek Trail and once you hit the lake loop it’s just White Rock Trail)

  2. The old “Haunted House on Plymouth from up till mid 70`s.Not haunted,but OFTEN vandalized bottle rockets to everything possible..finally burned with the nice old ladys and 2 german shepherds in it.I found a spot during walk over a few years later a COLD SPOT which I asked my friend to walk over here [not saying why] and she got the chill too.MID SUMMER mind you.FYI. David Kyle Oak Cliff Boomer.

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