I can’t think of a better way to enjoy a warm summer evening than with a refreshing swim. Along the Colorado River Valley, and in northwest Arizona, a swimming pool can easily become the focal point of your home and for social gatherings for at least nine months of the year.
The swimming pool has been a focal point of societies for centuries. Here is a bit of trivia to think about. The “Great Bath” was discovered by archeologists performing excavations in the ancient city of Mohenjo-Daro in modern-day Pakistan. It is the oldest swimming pool yet discovered. Dating to the 3rd millennium BC. This pool is roughly 36′ by 7′ and was lined with bricks, covered with a tar-based sealant.
For the training of athletes the ancient Greeks and Romans built artificial pools. The oldest record of a heated swimming pool in Rome dates to the 1st century BC. It was built by Gaius Maecenas, a rich merchant. A number of Roman emperors built elaborate private swimming pools in which fish were also kept. As a result one of the Latin words for a pool was piscina.
In Sri Lanka archeologists have found remnants from the Sinhalese civilization that indicate swimming pools were an important social gathering place. They often built them in pairs with decorated flights of steps.
As they were based on events hosted by the ancient Greeks, the modern Olympic Games that started in 1896 included swimming races. This is often heralded as the beginning of the modern era for swimming pools. After the dawning of the 20th century even the great ocean liners such as the Titanic were built with swimming pools. The first of these great ships was the Adriatic launched in 1906 by the White Star Line.
As in ancient Rome, public swimming pools were the pride of communities that wished to present themselves as modern, progressive cities. Swimming clubs became the rage with the rich and famous. By 1920, clubs such as these had opened in most major American and European cities as well as in Hong Kong.
Counted among the most prestigious of these was the Oxford Swimming Club established in 1909. Established in 1907, the Racquet Club of Philadelphia featured an acclaimed feature, an above ground swimming pool.
During the same era opulent swimming pools became status symbols. Built in 1919 by publishing magnate William Randolph Hurst, a crown jewel at Hearst Castle in California was the Neptune Pool. The 345,000-gallon pool was designed to mimic classic Roman designs and is surrounded by sweeping colonnades and Italian relief sculptures.
The second pool at the estate is even more elegant. The indoor Roman Pool, which shimmers with deep blue glass mosaic tiles tiles on the walls is adorned with statues of Greek and Roman figures. As a bit of a footnote, you can reserve either of the pools for a private party. The price is a mere $1,250-per-person ticket but that includes a wide selection of tasty treats as well as local wines and craft beers.
Fortunately a swimming pool is no longer reserved for the rich and famous. Give the professionals at Baron Services a call and see how easy it is to transform the backyard into a summers evening oasis.
Written by Jim Hinckley of Jim Hinckley’s America