Monday, 20 February 2012

Pool postcard: Manly, NSW

Let's change continents for a while and have a look at some Australian pools. My collection of vintage Australian postcards is not as large, and I'd love more!

This harbourside pool was built in 1931 by the Port Jackson Steamship Company. It opened in December that year and was described as "the finest swimming pool in Australia." It was the largest.

I swam here once, in January 1967. The boardwalks still existed, but I think the diving boards and waterwheels had disappeared by then. Does anyone else have any memories of swimming here?

It was destroyed in a huge storm in 1974. Cost defeated a 1984 proposal to rebuild the boardwalks.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Pool postcard: Call of the Canyon Resort, Oak Creek Canyon, Arizona

Another postcard from a gorgeous setting.

Oak Creek Canyon is a popular tourist destination in Arizona, not far from the Grand Canyon, at Sedona. Portions are federal wilderness areas.

I suspect the resort no longer exists.

I found a video on You Tube in which a group of young people explore the Call Of The Canyon area on a camping trip - it appears there are remains of what look like ruined buildings, perhaps from this resort (first part of video)

And here's some absolutely gorgeous photos of the canyon in various seasons.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Pool postcard: Fort McClellan, Anniston, Alabama

Fort McClellan, 2.5 miles northeast of Anniston, Alabama, is one of the largest training areas in USA. Posted 1944
At the time this postcard was written, Fort McClellan was the headquarters for the 92nd Division, the Army's second African-American division, activated on October, 1942. At least 6,500 men from the 92nd were trained at Fort McClellan. The 92nd was deactivated in 1945.

In 1943 it had become the base for the Infantry Replacement Training Center (IRTC). Basic training  included situations corresponding to combat in European areas such as training within simulated urban areas, actions under live artillery fire, and crouching in foxholes with tanks moving overhead.

It was also a POW camp.

It closed in 1999.

The postcard was addressed to Mr Ralph Shastany of St Johnsburg Virginia, from 31467145 Pvt Romeo ?? and reads:

 "Hello Shay

How are you. I'm find an now I'm in my new camp an I like it. well Shay I won't be able to see you before 17 weeks from now an then I'll have 10 day to go home I hope. done work to hard. write to me. From Romeo.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Pool postcard: The Plunge, Bella Vista, Arkansas

From the Old State House Museum Arkansas News Archive website about the opening in summer 1931:

"Bella Vista's Plunge Pool Heads List of Resort Outdoor Activities

BELLA VISTA - Swimming, diving, water polo, and hours of thrills on the exciting water await visitors young and old this summer of 1931 at Bella Vista's Plunge, the largest open-air swimming pool in Arkansas.

Constructed at a cost of $20,000, the pool is 54 feet wide and 200 feet long. It ranges in depth from wading for babies to a safe diving depth for older children. Floating barrels and water slides are also available.

Electric floodlights make night bathing delightful in the pure spring water. Supplied from the resort's Big Spring, water is first piped to a warming reservoir and held all day. Every night, after bathers have retired to their cabins, the huge pool is drained and its concrete sides and bottom are cleaned: Then the warm water is released to refill the pool and make ready for another day of water recreation."

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Pool postcard: University of California, Berkeley

Strawberry Canyon Pool

I just love this card: the setting and rustic charm is gorgeous! This is the Strawberry Canyon pool was a men's only facility from when it was opened in 1911, to 1943 when it was opened to women. There is still a pool complex there, which replaced the original in 1959.

This site, Gay Bears : the hidden history of the Berkeley Campus has an excerpt from a novel set in 1919, and a poem from 1930 set at the pool.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Pool postcard: Fleischhacker Swimming Pool, San Francisco

"World's largest out-door tank. It holds 6 million gallons of warmed (and filtered) sea water, is ove a thousand feet in length. It is located close to the Pacific."
Here's a link to information on this pool on Wikipedia. It opened in 1925. "After years of underfunding and poor maintenance, the pool was showing some deterioration when a storm in January 1971 damaged its drainage pipe. Because the repair costs exceeded the City's budget, the pool was converted to a fresh water pool which resulted in poor water quality. As a result of the poor attempt at conversion and resulting water quality, the pool was closed by the end of 1971.

Detail of original bath house
In 1999, the San Francisco Zoological Society was granted ownership of the pool house, and it is not known what might become of it. The swimming pool itself was filled with rocks and gravel, with the space now serving as a parking lot for the zoo. The poolhouse is currently derelict and occupied by the homeless."

Here's two of the LC photos:

Original diving tower

Here is a fascinating site about the current state of the pool. There are some great memories of the pool in the Comments section on this blog. Two photographers, including the blog author, Jonathan Haeber, visited the site of the pool in 2008.

Photo by Joanathan Haeber :

Monday, 13 February 2012

Pool postcard: Santa Clara International Swim Centre, California

"This is one of the finest aquatic facilities in the world, consisting of three separate pools: a 50 meter racing pool, a diving and synchronised pool and an instructional pool"    Postmarked 1977.
Now called the George Haines International Swim Centre, after former US Olympic swimming coach, who started the Santa Clara Swim Club.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Pool postcard: Miami Beach Casino, Florida

"These two large Roman pools, besides being a source of pleasure for surf bathers at all times, are also the scene of winter swimming contests, where the country's champions compete. Here are also staged numerous bathing girl revues throughout the season, these attractions drawing immense crowds."
Information from Windmill World website (there's also some links to more pictures on that site)

"Carl Fisher was the leading light in developing Miami Beach into a vibrant and popular destination in the 1920s. At that time he built a casino hotel at what is now the South end of Miami Beach, with large swimming pools, known as the Roman pools. On the seaward side of the pools was a large windmill, which it's been suggested was utilized to pump seawater into the pools.
The windmill, regularly described as a Dutch mill (but that's just to make it clear that it was not simply a skeleton windpump, or wind engine) was a tower mill which pictures show in multiple orientations, so its clear that the cap and sails could revolve. However, I've not come across any pictures that prove that the sails were workable - most pictures show a very flat cross as shown above, which tends to suggest its major use was just as a advertisment for the casino. Some images do show a fantail atached to the cap, so its quite possible that it was a working system once, but later replacement sails may simply have been ornamental. "

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Pool postcard: Bathing Casino, Palm Beach, Florida

"Here society indulges in aquatic sports and many handsome costumes are displayed". Postmarked Nov 2, 1921
This is a postcard of the bathing casino at the Breakers Hotel. The photograph at right appears on the website of Florida Memory Division of Library and Information Services . It is dated 1905.

These days it boasts five oceanside pools.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Pool postcard: Municipal swimming pool, Griffin Georgia

Postmarked August 22, 1947

I understand there is still a pool in the City Park. The attached photo is from a swim meet at City Park pool in which the Griffin Gators triumphed

Griffin Daily News report.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Pool postcard: Mineral Springs, Pekin, Illinois

The card above was posted in August 1940. I have no idea, and Google didn't reveal, if there is still a pool on the same site, but I did find the DragonLand Water Park....

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Pool postcard: Fort Scott, Kansas

"Fort Scott residents enjoy unusual park facilities for a city of its size. . . Gunn City Park with its two lakes and camp site, nearby Rock Creek park and Elm Park with its 105 acres of water. . . bathing beaches, boating, and its fine fishing, tennis courts, swimming pools."  (Back of card)

I found this picture of Fort Scott pool on this wiki site. Looks like the same building is still standing.

The information attached says: "The Fort Scott Public Pool was built in the 1930s by the WPA projects of the Great Depression. The pool offers several water slides. It used to offer diving boards in the deep end of the pool but they were removed because of insurance. During the summer, the pool staff and lifeguards offer Red Cross certified swimming lessons for children as well as lessons for adults. "

Now, this raises two points I have been pondering:

1. The importance of community asset building through work projects during the Great Depression. It's how Sydney got quite a few of its ocean baths.

2. Diving boards. Most of the US photos I have been showing feature diving boards, and in fact most of the pools I frequented as a chils had them. Not so any more. Few public pools I know if still have boards. I remember diving off 1 m spring boards, and daring  to dive from the 3m boards. I was never brave enough to venture onto the 5m or 10 m platforms!

Monday, 6 February 2012

Pool postcard: Western Kentucky State Teachers College, Bowling Green, Kentucky

The back of the card reads: "Western's Swimming Pool is one of the most beautiful and modern of the entire South. Its natural setting, its competent force of instructors, and the strict health supervisionthat it undergoes have made of it one of the most prized and popular assets of the institution."
I bought this card, even though it's not a public pool, because the place name "Bowling Green" has always intrigued me.

Wikipedia says: "The choice of the name Bowling Green has not been attributed to any single source by historians. Some say at the first county commissioners' meeting in early 1798, the pioneers decided that the new town would be "called and known" by the name of Bolin Green." This name was after the Bowling Green in New York City, where patriots had pulled down a statue of King George III and used the lead to make bullets during the American Revolution. Others say the Virginian settlers may have been honoring Bowling Green, Virginia. Still others say, Robert Moore kept a "ball alley game" on his residence which guests called bowling on the green. Early records indicate that the city name was also spelled Bowlingreen and Bolin Green.

In 1967 the Everly Brothers made Number 40 on Billboard ot 100 with their song "Bowling Green", about the city.

History of the college

The college was known as the Western Kentucky State Teachers College between 1930 and 1948. The postcard was postmarked Feb 22, 1943.

1875 - founding of the privately owned Glasgow Normal School in Glasgow, Kentucky.
1884 - moved to Bowling Green, became the Southern Normal School and Business College.
1906 - the student body and building were transferred to the Western Kentucky State Normal School, when it was created by an act of the Kentucky General Assembly.
1911 - moved to its present location in 1911
1922 - the school was authorized by the state to grant four-year degrees and was renamed as Western Kentucky State Normal School and Teachers College.
1927 - merged with Ogden College, which occupied an adjacent campus.
1930 - name changed in 1930 to Western Kentucky State Teachers College.
1948 - another name change when the school became simply Western Kentucky State College.
1963 - WKSC merged with the Bowling Green College of Commerce, formerly the Bowling Green Business University.1
1966 - Western Kentucky State College became Western Kentucky University.

These days there's a pool called the Bill Powell natatorium, with 10 lanes, spingboard diving boards, a shallow area for lounging, water basket ball & aquafit courses and a outdoor sundeck area. 

Sunday, 5 February 2012


Bexley pool is managed by the YMCA. One of the regular lappies there had the idea pf helping raise the profile of the pool as a community asset, and garnering support for its re-development by having  a Swimathon and raising money for local causes. The YMCA has taken up the initiative and on SunMarch 11, there'll be a national Swimathon at 100 pools across Australia.

It didn't take much thinking for me to dive in to this one!

If you feel inclined to throw in some sponsorship - even just a dollar or two, you can do it on-line here:

My sponsorship page.

I've pledged to swim 1000 metres (1 km, or 20x50 m laps, or lengths, if you prefer to say that!)

Hopefully it will have the added benefit of attracting some local publicity, and help people appreciate that the pool is a hugely valuable asset to our community!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Pool postcard: City Park, Belfast, Maine

The site Friends of Belfast Parks tells us:

BELFAST CITY PARK was founded in 1904 by a group of local women activists, called the Belfast Improvement Society.
The gentle slope and extensive beach area are attractive features of this park alongside Penobscot Bay. Basketball courts, tennis courts, a Little League baseball field, horseshoe pits, a playgound, and a swimming pool bring thousands of people to this 15-acre gem of a park each year.

July 16, 2008 City Park swimming pool
 In searching for a modern picture of the pool, I found this blog,  by Astrig and Steve. Astrig writes:

"...we head over to the Belfast City Park which is also along the waterfront. Here the city maintains a public swimming pool which is very clean and at a comfortable temperature while not being overly chlorinated. People who use YMCA pools will know the chlorine burn of which I speak. It’s a joy to swim outdoors and I spend some time here swimming laps."

I collect vintage postcards of swimming pools. I plan to post one a day as far as possible. If you know any of these places, especially the fate of the pool, I'd love to hear from you!

Friday, 3 February 2012

Pool postcard: Ocean Park, Maine

Ocean Park is a community founded by Free Will baptists in 1881 with the purpose of "establishing a place of summer resort for holding religious, educational and other meetings..."

In the late nineteenth century, the camp meeting movement gave birth to more than 350 assembly centers scattered across the United States. Dedicated to self-improvement, this is one of the very few which still exist.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Pool postcard: St Cloud, Minnesota

Municipal swimming pool, St Cloud, Minnesota
Information about this pool from this site:

July 1947 - The St. Cloud Municipal Swimming Pool was dedicated. The pool was Minnesota's first outdoor Olympic-size pool and cost $170,000 to build. The dressing house is Georgian Revival style and was built during the Works Progress Administration. In the 1950s it was used by as many as 2,000 swimmers a day, 60,000 in the summer of 1955.

September 2002 - The St. Cloud Municipal Swimming Pool closed because of declining attendance and the need to replace an expensive chlorine treatment system.

June 2007 - A new splash pad was installed to replace the swimming pool. Also, a public restroom and concession building, plaza, picnic areas and new playground area was completed to complement the historic character of the area.

May 2008 - The Lake George Community Center opens in Eastman Park. The community center is housed in the historic dressing house. The dressing house building was reused with a complete interior remodel. The historic character of the dressing house was preserved.

I collect vintage postcards of swimming pools. I plan to post one a day as far as possible. If you know any of these places, especially the fate of the pool, I'd love to hear from you!