The Mystery Man of Norbuck Park

   On the southeast corner of Buckner and Northwest Highway sits one of East Dallas' busiest public spaces, Norbuck Park. It has two lighted softball fields, a playground, tennis court, roller hockey rink and wooded trails that have hosted high school cross country meets for generations.
   Just a short distance from White Rock Lake, it has become popular with running groups and is the Start / Finish Line for the Dallas Running Club's Half Marathon.
 
   Situated between the ball fields is a monument to a man who died over 50 years ago. I've often wondered, who is Rowland Adams?  Why did his contemporaries feel compelled to place a marker in this park?


  The monument itself offers few clues. It reads:

1917 -1962
A Tribute To
Rowland D. Adams
Whose Love of God and Life
Inspired Him To Appreciate the
Beauty of the World and His
Fellow Man

To Be a Coach and Counselor to
Boys and Girls

To Be a Friend and Example to All

This Monument is Dedicated

   We are able to determine that Mr. Adams died at the rather young age of 44 or 45. And that his death occurred  50 years ago. Were he alive today, he would be in his mid 90's. Chance are that few of his contemporaries would still be around.

  The monument also stated that he was a coach of boys and girls. The young men and woman who were inspired by Mr. Adams are probably in there 60's and 70's today.

   I went to the staff at downtown branch of the Dallas Library to see if they could find anything more on Rowland D. Adams. The search uncovered his obituary from the January 19, 1962 printing of the Dallas Times Herald which shed some light on his contributions.

   Rowland Adams organized the White Rock Churches Athletic Association in 1956. According to his obituary, it was the largest church sponsored athletic association in the nation. In 1962 alone there were over 2000 youngsters participating in baseball and basketball programs. Adams himself coached teams from his congregation at Lakeview Christian Church. It also stated that he had been sick for many years and that he died at the age of 44. 

    East Dallas has changed much in the past 60 years. In 1962, that area of town was much like Frisco is today. The homes were new, the area was growing, the public schools were some of the best in the state. 
   Today, many of the churches that were once part of of the White Rock Churches Athletic Association have seen their congregations age and many of the buildings now house churches of different denominations.  
   And at Norbuck Park, a new generation of children enjoy the fields of play.  Hopefully some of them have grandparents that will tell them of a man whose monument overlooks their playground.