Remembering the old swimming pool

By Rick Palsgrove, Groveport Editor

Opening day, 1961.

Every summer when it gets hot and steamy I remember the large swimming pool that once operated in Groveport on the westside of Hendron Road.

The spot is just a grassy field now, but when it opened in 1961 the Groveport Madison Recreation Club swimming pool was an oasis of fun.

The concrete pool consisted of two Olympic-size swimming areas plus a good-sized diving area with three diving boards – low, middle, and high. Going off the high dive was a badge of honor!

The facility featured an open grassy area where people sun bathed and lounged around on beach towels with their transistor radios nearby. There was also a volleyball court, basketball court, and a tether ball pole. The place just seemed to have it all when it came to simple fun.

In my youth I spent a lot of fun time there with the summer of 1965 sticking out the most in my mind.

That summer I was age 9 going on 10. I learned how to swim in a class held on early, shivery, chilly June mornings. I picked up the basics, but I never did become a strong swimmer, but I could thrash about in the pool and get by.

My siblings I went to the pool in the afternoon usually, but we also went with our dad occasionally after he got home from work some evenings.

A common sight on the sizzling sidewalks of Groveport on summer afternoons in those days was of kids walking or riding their bikes to the pool with their beach towels slung over their shoulders.

There was so much to absorb in one’s senses at the pool. The sound of cars crunching gravel as they pulled in and out of the pool’s parking lot. The sight of the bike rack filled with all sorts of bicycles. Hearing the water lapping against the sides of the pool. The cascading sound of the splashing of the divers. Laughter and happy voices filling the air. The feel of the cool water on one’s skin after immersing oneself in the pool. The weird concession stand food we all loved. The rock and roll music pouring out of the tinny sounding speaker above the pool office and concession stand. Usually the music came from WCOL radio and the pool was the first place I heard the Kinks’ great rocker, “You Really Got Me.”

Speaking of rock music, the music from the Teen Night Dances at the pool could be heard all over town, almost like a summer soundtrack.

As the years went by the old pool took more and more maintenance to operate. It closed and was covered up with dirt in the early 21st century. It was replaced by the new Groveport Aquatic Center that opened in Groveport Park along Groveport Road.

In essence, the old pool was just a big water-filled piece of concrete surrounded by grass. But the people who enjoyed the place gave it vibrancy, life, and memories. It was so simple, but oh so great.

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