Virginia State Seal

Virginia Department of Historic Resources

073-0070 Twin Lakes State Park

Twin Lakes State Park
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For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

NRHP Listing Date 10/31/2012

NPS property number 12000906

Twin Lakes State Park consists of 495 acres within Prince Edward-Gallion State Forest. The park began as two racially segregated “Recreation Development Areas,” consisting of Prince Edward Lake (for blacks) and Goodwin Lake (for whites), which were built during Virginia’s Jim Crow era. The recreational areas were partially built circa 1939 by Camp Gallion, an African American CCC camp located within the state forest, and developed for day use. Each recreation area featured lake access, picnic shelters, and play equipment but had no overnight facilities. In 1948, a prominent African American banker from Danville, M. Conrad Martin, was denied admission to Staunton River State Park. Represented by legendary civil rights attorney, Oliver W. Hill, Martin filed suit challenging Virginia’s policy of providing state parks only for whites; the suit sought to establish “separate but equal” facilities for blacks. As a result, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Development expanded the facilities at the existing Prince Edward Lake Recreation Area, developing it into Prince Edward State Park for Negroes, which opened in 1950, making it Virginia’s eighth state park. Edgar Latham, formerly a lifeguard at the Prince Edward Recreational Area, was appointed as the first African American superintendent in the history of Virginia State Parks. Nearby Goodwin Lake continued as a recreation area for whites. Despite the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Prince Edward State Park and Goodwin Lake remained largely segregated. In 1976, the two facilities were merged into a desegregated unit, called Prince Edward-Goodwin Lake State Park, and in 1986 it was renamed Twin Lakes State Park.


Abbreviations:
VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

Updated April 4, 2018