Crystal Beach Swimming Pool

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Crystal Beach Swimming Pool


Swimming pools; Works Projects Administration


In September, 1937, the City Council agreed to buy the former Trow's Perfection Flour Mill building which had been damaged by the 1937 flood. The original plan, pushed by local businessmen, was to lease the building to a business concern from Akron, Ohio. By September 29, 1937, the local paper reported, "The city and and the W. Trow Company jointly sold the building and machinery to Mr. Selig for $5,000. The pool committee, working with the city, recently purchased the Trow buildings and contents for $7,000, but thru the sale of the property to Selig, the cost to the city will be $2,500 for the property. Purchase of the property was made when approval was given a WPA project for labor on the pool proposal."

George Shafer, local WPA director, had been retained by the WPA to complete the pool with a crew of 45 men. Construction began in December of 1937. By August the rafters were being constructed in the bath house and cement was being poured for the deep diving pool. A Mr. Hunter designed the 800,000 gallon capacity pool which called for a system of flood lights under and over the water and a sterilization and circulation system. The salvaged stone from the old mill was used to build the bath house and recreation center. There was a contest to name the new pool and on March 11, 1939, Ella Van Tyle won with her submission of "Crystal Beach". The prize was $25.00. On May 28, 1939 dedication ceremonies took place. There were dignitaries, bands and exhibition swimming and diving to celebrate the day. The pool was indeed a success. Pool Statistics: Cost of $100,000, 200 foot diameter, 25 foot sand beach surround the pool, 10 foot cement walk surrounding sand beach, 700,000 gallon capacity, circulated water through filters every eight hours, 20,000 square feet of water, 12,000 square feet of sand beach, diving tower-9 foot water depth, 7 diving boards, underwater observation windows. Pavilion Statistics: 40 feet by 130 feet, constructed of stone, two stories high, first floor-showers, first aid room, dressing rooms and office, second floor-auditorium, open porch on river side. There were slides for the children and the whole area was surrounded by a five foot fence. The pool has faced challenges since its grand opening in 1939. One of the worst things to befall it was the flood of 1997. It caused major damage but the pool was again open for business that summer. There have been breakdowns of equipment and financial shortfalls. There was a move to close the pool and build a new one "on the hill". The sand beach is gone and there are new pool toys, but it still endures. As a matter of fact, the great grandchildren of those water babies of '39 now swim in the pool.


Harry Lemen, photographer


Madison Courier; Historical Files


Photos taken July & August 1941, June 4, 1944.


Madison-Jefferson County Public Library


Permission to reproduce this image for other than personal use must be requested from the Director of the Madison-Jefferson County Public Library. Please contact at 420 W. Main Street Madison, IN 47250 (812) 265-2744


Photograph taken with Eastman-Kodak Brownie Camera No. 2C model A, using No. 130 film. Resulting negative (2.875in x 4.875in) scanned at 1200 DPI using a Microtek ScanMaker 9800XL. Online jpeg image file saved at 72 DPI 800 to 1000 pixels on long edge. Scan is full frame of negative. No correction of film errors. Slight sharpness and contrast adjustments.


Still image



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Harry Lemen, photographer, "Crystal Beach Swimming Pool," in Harry Lemen Historic Photo Collection, Item #39, (accessed May 22, 2015).