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A staple fixture in the romanticized image of childhood summers is the old swimming hole. Perhaps that is one reason so many homeowners in the southwest see a swimming pool as a necessity rather than as a luxury. Of course months on end with temperatures that often exceed 110 degrees Fahrenheit also play a role of the popularity of swimming pools.

Swimming pools are most than just a way to beat the heat. Here in the desert southwest the pool is often the centerpiece for parties and an active social life, just as they were in ancient Rome. That takes us to a bit of interesting trivia. Swimming was an integral component in the physical training of Roman boys. Swimming prowess was associated with masculinity, something that Julius Caesar famously capitalized on.

The oldest historic site associated with a swimming pool is found at the archaeological site of Mohenjo-daro in Pakistan, a 5,000 year old city. Most likely used for ceremonial washings, the pool is an engineering marvel. There are two wide staircases that lead down into the pool from the north and south. It was designed in such a manner that people could congregate on a ledge along the edge of the pool. The floor and walls were made water tight with the use of finely fitted bricks laid on edge covered with gypsum plaster and a natural tar.

Baths for bathing and relaxing were often focal points for socializing in Roman cities, a concept borrowed from the Greeks. Often a cities prominence was measured by the size of the bath complexes, and the amenities offered. Most offered diverse array of rooms heated, or cooled, to different temperatures, as well as a swimming pool and bath, a library or place to read, and landscaped grounds designed to encourage socializing. Interestingly, the bath complexes became a focal point for engineering and architectural evolution as they required expansive open spaces. The first recorded use of a dome was at a Roman bath.

During the Roman Republics height of world dominance, Roman baths, many with plunge pools, were built through out the empire from North Africa to Germany, from Britain to Slovakia. In addition to public baths, wealthy citizens often had their own private baths, and swimming pools constructed as a part of their villa  Another point of trivia, The first recorded heated swimming pool was built in Rome by Gaius Maecenas in the 1st century B.C.  One of the most spectacular swimming pools was built in Rome around 305 AD. It was about 900,000 square feet in size, was heated by furnaces built in the basement, and was flanked by marble galleries, busts, and statues!

There is an old adage about doing as the Romans. Well, with the professional team at Baron Services adding a swimming pool, with landscaped grounds, or maintaining a swimming pool, is as easy as a phone call. And with the summer temperatures of the Colorado River Valley you want need to worry about heating that pool. In fact, you might ask how to cool it!

Written by Jim Hinckley of Jim Hinckley’s America