This is how the Park looked in the early 1960s. It was published by Roanoke’s Haynes Distributing Company. The company did a photo run through our area in the early 1960s and C. H. Ruth seems to have been their go-to guy for airplane shots. These cards are called “chromes”, since Kodachrome was the film of choice then.
I’d heard a story that this park grabbed the State Park designation from what is now Steele Creek Park (it was going to be Watauga State Park) in Bristol and, thus, left Bristolians sad and bereft. The dates don’t add up, though. There were plans to make Steele Creek a State Park, but organizers had given up on that in 1945. The land for WPSP was acquired from TVA in 1952, a year before the dam was completed.
Steele Creek Park, a city park, came about in 1964. Many Bristolians I’ve talked to have fond memories of enjoying this park when they were kids. It’s still just fine. Good hiking trails! And a LOT of ducks.