In the years before Lake Ray Hubbard was built, it was a river bottom known to locals at “the bottom”. Folks would head to the bottom to picnic, camp fish, and do some hand fishing (or “noodling”). The north end of the river was home to an old moonshiner’s cabin. Interestingly, even today some of the old river levees can still be spotted in some areas around the lake!
Then, in 1957, White Rock Lake in Dallas dried up for a time. Suddenly, the push was on to develop another lake in the county, and Dallas Mayor R.L. Thornton and Dallas Park Board member Ray Hubbard had their eyes on Rockwall County. This was not a popular idea with the cotton farmers who lived in the Rockwall Area. Nevertheless, in 1959, the state of Texas granted the permits for a lake to be developed in Rockwall.
Dallas annexed 22,745 acres for water coverage and then purchased additional lakefront parcels. The largest purchased land was 6000 acres from EBS ranch, which covers the southwest area of the lake up to approximately Robertson Park.
By 1967, work on the dam was complete. Engineers expected it would take 3-5 years for the lake to completely fill with water, but it hit capacity in 1968.
Since the lake was built to serve as an emergency water supply for the City of Dallas, engineers originally wanted to remove all the tress from the lake bed – one tree can take up many gallons of water storage space. Happily for all the fishermen who hit the lake every weekend, the timber was never cleared and Lake Ray Hubbard remains a popular destination for local fishermen and boaters.
Lake Ray Hubbard, formerly Forney Lake is a fresh water impoundment (reservoir) located in Dallas, Texas in counties of Dallas, Kaufman, Collin, and Rockwall just north of the City of Forney. It was created by the construction of the Rockwall-Forney Dam which impounded the East Fork of the Trinity River.
It measures 22,745 acres (922) in size with a storage capacity of 490,000 acre feet (600,000,000m3) and a maximum depth of 40 feet (12m). The dam is currently owned by the City of Dallas. Interstate 30 bisects the lake. The lake was originally named Forney Lake for the nearby town of Forney, Texas. After the City of Dallas incorporated the lake, it was renamed after a living person, Ray Hubbard, who presided over the Dallas Parks and Recreation System board from 1943 to 1972. However, the company that administrates the distribution of its waters is still known as Forney Water Supply Corp. The reservoir is currently managed by Dallas Water Utilities.