White limestone outcroppings of the Balcones Escarpment rise from blackland prairies in southern Dallas County. The Hill Country-like terrain attracted settlers in the late 1840s who established the frontier community of Cedar Hill. In 1856 a tornado devastated the fledgling town, which revived only after the railroad arrived in 1882. Around 1990 an economic whirlwind swept through Cedar Hill when 7,500-acre Joe Pool Reservoir and 1,826-acre Cedar Hill State Park opened to visitors. The state park, one of Texas’ most popular nature preserves, brings two million visitors to Cedar Hill each year. The park honors pioneers by preserving Penn Farm Agricultural History Center. Penn Farm depicts early agriculture through period farm machinery and reconstructed and historic buildings—including a 1918 barn, Model-T garage and two granaries...all within view of the Dallas skyline. Adjacent to the park, the 200-acre Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center converges eastern and western ecosystems, making it the only place where West Texas black-chinned hummingbirds nest in flowering East Texas dogwood trees
Cedar Hill’s most popular area is the 7,500 acre Lake Joe Pool and the Cedar Hill State Park. Lake Joe Pool offers fishing, boating, sailing, water sports and marinas. On the eastern shore of Lake Joe Pool is the Cedar Hill State Park. With almost 2 million visitors a year Cedar Hill State Park is the second most visited State Park in Texas. The State Park offers day and overnight camping with 355 campsites and 30 primitive campsites, a swimming beach, playgrounds, boat ramps, pavilions, historic Penn Farm, and a marina and restaurant.
Penn Farm, Cedar Hill State Park