“Bob Jones was a man held in high esteem, even during the time of segregation. Bob Jones was one of the area’s largest landowners, with about 2,000 acres to his name. Much of the land is now below Lake Grapevine at this time, but 758 Acres is the home of the Bob Jones Nature Center.
Born a slave, John Dolford “Bob” Jones was born to a white man, Leazer Alvis Jones, and his slave Elizabeth. Bob herded sheep for his father, and eventually started a cattle and farming operation in what is currently Southlake. Bob married and fathered ten children, and placed a high value on their education. He would often hire tutors to come and teach his children, or he would send them to attend school in Denton, TX.
In 1920 Bob donated an acre of land to the county to create a school where his grandchildren and other area children could attend, which stayed open until 1951. The site for the school rests within Bob Jones Park.
It seems fitting that the Bob Jones Nature Center also holds education in high regard. The center holds Homeschool sessions, Pre-school, and Summer Camps for kids of all ages to learn about conservation and environmental education.
A large red barn sits near the Center’s headquarters, once holding all the maintenance equipment. The barn is old and loved by many for its rustic charm. However, recently the city condemned the building keeping the staff from being able to store their equipment inside. This forced the Nature Center to move all of their equipment inside the main building where they host the children. Each time a shovel or wheelbarrow was needed, the staff would have to climb a narrow staircase to retrieve it and put it back in its place. Eventually, they found this process exhausting, and decided that they needed a new shed. They were looking for a quality built shed they could rely on for years. They found Ulrich, and we built the Nature Center a beautiful, red utility shed that matched the existing barn on the property. Now they have the space they need and can easily access their tools without disrupting the kids’ education. “