We’ve always known that the Frankford Church and Cemetery site was once a rest stop for Native Americans traveling along the Shawnee Trail (which we now know as Preston Road) because it had everlasting springs that provided fresh water. But until today, we never knew the source of those springs.
On a hunch, Kathy Power, board president of the Frankford Cemetery Association, got a crew to uncover a large, round rock lying in White Rock Creek, which runs along the north side of the site. A closer look revealed that it wasn’t a rock – it was a very old piece of cement used to cap off the springs.
“We thought that if we could find the original source of the springs, we would really complete the story,” Power says.
The theory was confirmed when workers lifted up the cap, and cloudy water began gushing out into the creek.
In 2010, the association finished a complete restoration of Frankford Church, a precious remnant of the pioneer community founded by the McKamy family in 1852. It was a bustling campsite for early settlers moving west and eventually, it became the Town of Frankford. But as other cities developed around it, the town sort of dissolved. The church and the cemetery nearby are the only pieces left. They are nestled on the southeast corner of the Dallas North Tollway and Frankford Road.
Rosa Finsley, the landscape architect for the preservation project, was surprised at how the alive the spring was after the crew uncovered it today – some hundred years later. That’s the power of preservation, she says.
“Most places have pipelines running through them, or developers have come in and built over it, making it hard for the springs to continue to flourish.”
Power says the board is going to let the spring continue to run and see what happens.
So, why were the springs capped off? J.C. Foster, a lifelong North Dallas resident and former FCA board member, has a theory.
“Some of us who have been around here for a while said maybe this vein of water running through here is the same vein that went into and supplied Keller Springs,” Foster says.
He says during the Great Depression, the Keller Springs (for which Keller Springs Road is named) kept the community alive. People from five miles out would travel to the springs with buckets to transport water.
“It was a lifesaver for this area because all the wells were dried up. People used it not only for cooking and drinking but for their cattle. Maybe they capped off [the Frankford Springs] to increase the flow into Keller Springs. Whether that’s true or not, I don’t know.”
However the cap got there, the live springs are another piece of history that most people wouldn’t expect to find up here in the North Dallas sprawl.