The countdown has begun. A new year is looming on the horizon. There are only a few weeks left in 2021.
Even though temperatures are hovering near eighty degrees, chances are that you have put the swimming pool away for the winter. And if you are new to the Bullhead City area, chances are that you have found Baron Services, the swimming pool specialists in the Colorado River Valley.
Here in the desert southwest the swimming pool is a veritable oasis. But for many residents it is also a tangible link to childhood days spent at the old swimming hole.
The swimming hole is linked to more than the backyard swimming pool. America’s oldest public park is Boston Commons in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1634, the city purchased 48 acres for the park and before the turn of the century, two ponds were added to the natural one in the parks center.
Only Frog Pond remains. Now a swimming pond, this is the nations oldest public swimming facility. Over the course of the past century other modifications have been made. During the months of winter it serves as an ice rink. During the months of spring it is the city’s reflecting pool, and a spray feature was added to enhance the summer experience.
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the fabled Coral Gables Venetian Pool in Florida was a flooded rock quarry. It was the local swimming hole until developer George Merrick, architect Phineas Paist, and artist Denman Fink transformed it into a whimsical paradise fantasy in 1924.
Also listed on the National Register of Historic Places is Deep Eddy Pool in Austin, Texas. For more than fifty years this was a popular swimming hole on the Colorado River for children, ranchers, and farmers living in the area. In the 1920s it was made into a swimming pool. Then in 1936 the city purchased he property and developed it as a city park.
During the Great Depression the Works Progress Administration completed the transformation from rustic swimming hole to public swimming pool. A bathhouse and other infrastructure was built during this period. Deep Eddy is the oldest public swimming pool in the state of Texas.
The Waikīkī War Memorial Natatorium in Hawaii is one of the most unique transformations of a swimming hole in the country. What started as a tidal pool was transformed in the late 1920s by renowned architect Lewis Hobart.
Dedicated in 1927 the salt water swimming pool on the beach of Waikīkī with bleachers and commemorative arch was built as a monument to the thousands of Hawaii’s citizens that served in WWI. It was conceived as a living memorial where people could continue the long history of swimming traditions in Hawaii. For decades it served as the centerpiece of the territories, and later state, swimming and watersports competitions.
When it opened on August 24, 1927, Olympic Gold Medalist Duke Kahanamoku who is credited as the “father of modern surfing” took the first ceremonial swim. Celebrated swimmers such as Esther Williams, Buster Crabbe, Johnny Weissmuller, and members of the International Swimming Hall of Fame trained at the facility.
Currently closed for refurbishment, this is one of a few ocean-water natatoriums left in the world. And it is the last of its kind in the United States.
Written by Jim Hinckley of Jim Hinckley’s America