Eisenhower State Park to Celebrate Golden Anniversary

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DENISON, Texas — Exhibitions, fly-casting demonstrations, star-gazing, ranger-led hikes and children’s programs will highlight Eisenhower State Park’s 50th birthday celebration on Saturday, May 17.

This year’s celebration will be attended by several dignitaries, including State Rep. Larry Phillips of Sherman, who will be on hand for the rededication of the park at 11 a.m. in the Recreation Hall, according to Park Superintendent Paul Kisel. A flag-raising by a Boy Scout color guard will kick off the event, followed by the recognition of dignitaries and a speech by Phillips.

Kisel said it is his understanding that when the state park first opened, people camped out and frequented the marina, but there were few park structures. The campgrounds and most facilities weren’t built until the 1960s, he said.

The grand opening of the popular North Texas park May 18, 1958, lasted nine days and was attended by Earl Eisenhower, the brother of then-President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was in the middle of his second term. While the campgrounds were only in the planning stage in those days, the marina on Lake Texoma was open.

Now, as then, Lake Texoma and Eisenhower State Park remain a major recreational draw for people of North Texas, especially those living in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

"Fifty years ago, Eisenhower State Park was a park name only. But it has always been a large, family-oriented park on a lake with vast recreational potential," Kisel said. "People can bring anything from a kayak to a 60-foot cruiser to enjoy the lake, which is renowned for its stripers and catfish."

Today, the state park boasts more than 180 campsites, 35 screened shelters, a group camp with pavilion, and the air-conditioned and heated Recreation Hall that can be rented overnight or just for the day. The Eisenhower Yacht Club is operated by LJH Corp. under a lease from the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. The park also features a 10-acre section devoted to minibikes and ATV (all-terrain vehicles) use.

The 426-acre state park is located about 5 miles north of Denison and 75 miles north of Dallas. It bears the name of the former president, who was born in 1890 in Denison.

For more information about the 50th anniversary celebration or Eisenhower State Park, call (903) 465-1956.

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