Originally proposed in 1889 by two local citizens who visited Philadelphia's Fairmount Park, the first plan for the park and parkway was drawn in 1911. It was a key component of George Kessler’s “A City Plan for Dallas,” envisioned as two 40-foot wide drives with sidewalks following Turtle Creek. After private land donations and land acquisition by the City, construction began in 1915. Though only one bi-directional drive was constructed the parkway connected adjacent parklands and provided an impetus for flood control, high-end development, and improved traffic circulation through the heart of the city. Today almost two miles in length, the parkway connects more than 86 acres of parks and playgrounds. It is the only one of Kessler’s planned parkways for Dallas to be constructed.
Following the general path of the creek, the road passes by limestone outcrops, dammed lakes, picturesque parks, and forested areas. While the roadway has been widened and development has both cut into and enhanced the parkway, it retains the social and environmental functions and character that Kessler envisioned. The most notable additions resulted from the Acquisition Plan of 1944 by Hare and Hare, which proposed purchasing the remaining private lands along the creek. Local landscape architect Joe Lambert, Jr. was also instrumental in creating the parkway experience, organizing the donation and planting of hundreds of flowering trees and advocating for their protection during road widening threats. The parkway has served as a model for Dallas, leading to the preservation of urban creeks and greenbelts across the city.