Walking to the creek. Through the trees in the distance, Rocky Falls
~~~From the South bank ~~~~
~~~From the the middle of the creek~~
~~~~Looking up Rocky Falls~~~~~
Rocky Falls is a place that is dear to all who grew up in Ovilla. If you spent any of your youth in Ovilla you probably ventured down Red Oak Creek and had an eye opening experience when you came upon this wonderful place.
When taking these pictures and video, I only walked to a certain point. Reason being there is a high wire with a sign "Posted No Trespassing" that crosses the creek. Didn't know anyone could keep someone from walking down a creek. (Especially a major tributary of the Trinity.) I also recall back in the 80's on the other side of the falls down the creek there was a sign driven in the actual white rock stating "No Trespassing."
I wanted to get to the spot to the right (looking upstream) of the falls. That is where you'd see a lot of the old timers take their picture with the falls and the high white rock wall on the other side of the creek in the background.
There are many out crops of white rock on Red Oak creek. And they usually have a deep spot or hole just upstream and then a shallow stream where the white rock starts and many times they will empty into a hole after the white rock. They make a slide-like falls. This is by far the largest and most scenic outcrop of white rock on Red Oak Creek. (That I know) It widens to a pool that is still white rock bottom but not very deep. This was a perfect day because the wind was blowing off the creek into my face. Very refreshing!
You can see a house on the North side of Red Oak Creek. I believe their land ,which goes all the way to Water street behind Mr Pickard's store, was or is a Pecan Grove.
I can't reference the source, but I remember reading that the Indians felt this place was of significance to their religious beliefs. The Anglos also felt the religious ambiance of Rocky Falls for it was the site of many a baptism. Memories of Mrs Ressie White (Waddle) from the 1920's in the Ovilla History book included Rocky Falls being a place where the "Church of Christ and Baptist Churches" baptised folks.
Before air condition , Rocky Falls was a way to cool down. Even on the banks the breeze can cool you. A common result of playing at Rocky Falls was wearing out your pants or shorts from sliding down the rocks. It happened to me, Mrs Ressie,Charlotte Collier (who stayed with her grandparents in Ovilla one year in the 30's), and many other inhabitants of Ovilla who took on the white rock playground.
Another one of my memories of Rocky Falls were my two rafting expeditions. I was probably 11 or 12 the first time with my friend Brad Norman. We took a raft from his Dad's sailboat. The little kid next door saw us get it out. Brad told him to keep his mouth shut. I can't remember our casting off point. But we went down Rocky Falls like Will and Holly from Land of the Lost. Except for the water was kind of low and it got stuck a few times and ripped a hole in the raft. We nearly sank the raft in the swim'n hole below. At the time there were kids playing in the swimming hole below the falls. I believe one of the kids was a red headed boy named Ross. When we got home Brad's mom was waiting to confront Brad and Brad new right away that the little kid had told on him. I think Brad went after him but his mom stopped him. That happened a lot.
My other trip was with Joel Miller. His Dad ,the Chemistry teacher, dropped us off at the Water street bridge. He told us to obey "Murphy's Law." There is deep water on the upstream side of the bridge but it turns into shallows with a slippery white rock bottom downstream. So we had to drag our raft until we found deep waters. Which the deepest were probably max 8 feet. We flipped the raft over a few times and slipped on the rocks we traversed. I remember thinking that parts of the deep creek reminded me of the Sixflags canoeing ride. They had mechanical Indians and fake canons that fired across at the Indians. I was waiting to see a mechanical Indian pull his bow back at us. I remember seeing a hose going into the water and trying to move it. Might have been a sump pump. Also before Rocky Falls on the North side of creek, Mr. Harder kept his bees near the creek in those white cabinets. Seems like Joel and I slid down the Falls in the raft with more success than my first time. Rocky Falls isn't really deep enough for a raft it was better to just lay in the water and let the water cool you off. But you know kids that want an adventure they'll try anything.
You can get to Rocky Falls by going behind Heritage Park, site of the old Cotton gin, and at the back behind the park was the pump hole in the creek where many Ovillians learned to swim. Rocky falls is about 300 feet or so upstream from the pump hole. But I can't recommend you trespass. When I was down there 07/23/07 I saw quite a few small bass swimming and a channel cat came up from the bottom. Probably the biggest game fish maybe 2lbs. Also plenty of large carp swimming around. Reminds me of a true story about a friend of mine named Chris. In the early 90's, we went bow fishing in this same spot but we were on the other side of the creek . Save that story for another time.
Coordinates for Rocky Falls at the no trespassing high wire n 32 degrees 31.533' W 096 degrees 53.316'
Coordinates for the pump hole (I believe) n 32 degrees 31.522' W 096 degrees 53.207'
I filmed this video with my digital camera so forgive the shakiness. No, at the end of the video it is not Bigfoot and his dog or Elvis and his hound, but a fella named Jarvis. He and his German Sheperd, Crocket, enjoy walking the creek. Mr Jarvis also just happens to be on the planning and zoning commission for Ovilla. He said he would look into the "Posted No Trespassing" signs. Listen to the cicada. My Grandma called them locust. Pretty cool all you can really hear is the Rocky Falls water, the cicada, and the wind blowing.
Input much appreciated
- Johnson County Genealogical Society
- Texas History Page
- Texas Methodist History
- Dallas History Forum
- North Texas History Center
- Blog Cabin Village
- Texas History Page
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