Cultural Resources

Under Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations, 327.14- Destruction, injury, defacement, removal or any alteration of public property including, but not limited to, developed facilities, natural formations, mineral deposits, historical and archaeological features, paleontological resources, boundary monuments or markers, and vegetative growth, is prohibited except when in accordance with written permission from the district engineer.

Archeological and Cultural Resource Protection

Various bands, groups or tribes of native Americans have inhabited the area around Joe Pool Lake during prehistoric and historic times. Some of them may have established a permanent residence here, relying on the native plants and animals for their sustenance, while others may have been merely passing through the region, following the thunderous herds of bison as they migrated from one part of the continent to another. In either instance, knowledge of these early Texans has been and continues to be learned largely from study of the artifacts that they left behind. Frequently much of the information obtainable from such items lies in their location in relation to other items at the site. Although it is very tempting to pick up an artifact such as an arrowhead or pottery fragment, such action destroys the knowledge that could be obtained from it. Furthermore, removal of any artifact from federal lands is a violation of both federal regulations and federal law. Conviction can result in both substantial financial penalty and jail incarceration. Persons can be cited under Title 36 CFR Section 327.14(a) [Destruction, injury, defacement, removal or any alteration of public property including, but not limited to, developed facilities, natural formations, mineral deposits, historical and archeological features, and vegetative growth, is prohibited except when it is in accordance with written permission of the District Engineer.] Persons may also be prosecuted under the Archeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA).

To prevent the destruction of this valuable information and prevent possible prosecution, please leave any artifact found where you see it. If you see anyone picking up such items or digging in a site, please report this to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Joe Pool Lake Project Office (972) 299-2227. Remember: These artifacts are part of the heritage that belongs to all Texans, and it is up to all of us to help preserve this heritage.

Penn Farm at Cedar Hill State Park

The farm was owned by the same family for over a century and is representative of the small, middleclass farmsteads that once occupied this margin of Dallas County. The site shows an evolution of structures, constructed or adapted by the Penn family as needs changed and modern conveniences were added. Of equal importance is the proximity of this rural farmstead to the neighboring urban centers in Dalas and Tarrant Counties, that provided both sources of supply and convenient markets for the farm.

The old Penn complex has been developed as a historic setting for farm-related activities associated with a stock farm of rural Dallas County. The complex serves as an educational resource for area schools and as a setting for demonstrations, special events and displays asociated with a small family farmstead in this part of north central Texas.

Penn Farm is located in Cedar Hill State Park off of 1382 in Cedar Hill, Texas.

  • The Penn farmstead overlooks Mountain Creek Valley in southwest Dallas County just west of Cedar Mountains. The rich blackland soils and the proximity of water, woodlands, and prairies drew settlers to this area in the 1850's. John Wesley Penn bought property here in 1859 and built the first structures. Penn family members lived on the property and operated their stock farm until 1970. Many of the original buildings are still standing.
  • Penn farm is architecturally significant as a set of rural agricultural buildings, used by a single family for over on hundred years. It is unusual in that the collection of buildings includes nearly all the structures built on site during that one-hundred-year-period. The variety of wood and masonry construction techniques and the use of indigenous materials also contribute to its significance. Land-use patterns, such as th management of natural-grass prairies and springs, give insights into how the Penn family and their neighbors availed themselves of existing resources.
  • The buildings complex, presently known as Penn Farm, is only the core of what was at one time a farm of over 1,100 acres. Structures began to be erected about 1860 on a mid-level terrace between the Cedar Mountain escarpment and the bottomland of Mountain Creek. The land along Mountain Creek was used for traditional crop farming and pasture, while the upper part of the farm property, now Cedar Hill State Park, was used for stock grazing on the slopes, for grain cultivation on the benches, and for haying of the natural-grass prairies. The farmstead itself was located on bench land overlooking the floodplain below. There were numerous springs present and a mixture of woodlands and natural-grass prairies existed between the deeply eroded drainages. Structures began to be built soon after John Wesley Penn became the sole owner of the property in 1860.
  • All of the structures were built of wood, except for the brick-and -stone storm cellars, cisterns and wells. The occurrence of oak and eastern red cedar along the escarpment provided construction materials for log, heavy braced-frame and pole-frame structures. Three buildings, the Renters' House, the Farm Office and the Smokehouse, were "box" or studless wall construction. Beveled pine siding was purchased for use on several structures, including the Old Penn House and the North and South Granaries. Many of the wire and stacked rail fences, built before the turn of the century, still survive.
  • The farm was owned by the same family for over a century and is representative of the small, middle-class farmsteads that once occupied this margin of Dallas County. The site shows an evolution of structures, constructed or adapted by the Penn family as needs changed and modern conveniences were added. Of equal importance is the proximity of this rural farmstead to the neighboring urban centers in Dallas and Tarrant counties, that provided both markets for the farm.
  • The old Penn complex has been developed as an historic setting for farm-related activities associated with a small stock farm of rural Dallas County. The complex serves as an educational resource for area schools and as a setting for demonstrations, special events and displays associated with a small family farmstead in this part of north central Texas.