Mackenzie State Recreation Area

By: H. Allen Anderson

Type: General Entry

Published: 1976

Updated: November 30, 2019

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Mackenzie State Recreation Area, located in the northeast portion of Lubbock and named for Gen. Ranald S. Mackenzie, is a 542-acre park offering a variety of recreational activities. By 1924 city developers had acquired 138 acres in this area of Yellow House Canyon, at which two upper tributaries of the Brazos River merge, as Lubbock's first city-county park. A swimming pool had already been constructed there in 1921, and a municipal golf course opened two years later. D. E. Colp, chairman of the State Parks Board, recommended the establishment of a state park to the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce, but nothing was done until 1933, when the local American Legion post pushed the idea to boost the city's lagging economy during the Great Depression. In 1935, after approval from the State Parks Board, the city bought 450 acres in Yellow House Canyon from Mollie D. Abernathy and P. F. Brown. This land, along with the old city and county park lands, was deeded to the state and named Mackenzie Park. A Civilian Conservation Corps camp was established to construct roads, bridges, and recreation facilities and to plant trees. To ensure proper maintenance and development, a bill was passed by the legislature leasing the park to the city. Mackenzie Park is thus operated by the Lubbock parks and recreation department. In addition to the golf course, swimming pool, recreation building, and facilities for camping and picnicking, the park contains a small amusement park. Its most unique feature is a cultivated prairie dog town begun in 1937 through the efforts of K. N. Clapp, then chairman of the Lubbock Parks Board, to help save the black-tailed prairie dog from extinction. The completion of the Canyon Lakes project in the 1980s added further attraction to Mackenzie Park, and nearby Fair Park Coliseum and Livestock Arena house the annual Panhandle-South Plains Fair in September.

George Oxford Miller, Texas Parks and Campgrounds: Central, South, and West Texas (Austin: Texas Monthly Press, 1984).

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

H. Allen Anderson, “Mackenzie State Recreation Area,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 20, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 30, 2019