By TESA GLASS
MT. VERNON — —
As the city prepares to break ground on its new aquatic facility, the winner of the old pool photo contest remembers days when area children flocked to the pool at the City Park.
“I swam in that pool for years when I was a child, in 1939 and 40,” recalled Marshall Wilson, whose photo of the city pool, circa 1926, garnered him the winning spot in the contest, sponsored by the Mt. Vernon Parks and Recreation Department.
Wilson’s photo was one of many he found about 20 years ago when renovating his home.
“I bought a house and was re-doing it and upgrading it,” Wilson said. “I found that picture in the attic along with other old pictures, newspapers and things. It caught my eye, and I’ve had it for many years. It was just in an old suitcase in the attic.”
The pool Wilson remembers was not exactly like the picture, which was taken a few years earlier than the years he enjoyed swimming in the cool summer spot.
“The pool wasn’t exactly like that,” Wilson said. “That was taken before the grandstand was built. When I used to swim there in the 40s, there was a grandstand on the west side. Back then, there was a kiddie pool, it was really active. It was a round pool and was almost always really full.”
Wilson said the pool was the “main attraction” at the park for boys and girls, especially the boys.
“That’s where you met your buddies in the summertime, at the pool,” Wilson said. “I had a couple of brothers, and we all went there to enjoy ourselves. And, if I recall, the price of admission, when I went there, was a dime.”
Thursday, ground will be broke on a new aquatic center, one which will provide new memories for another generation. The groundbreaking will take place at 11:30 a.m. on South 34th Street, south of Veterans Memorial Drive. According to information from the Parks and Recreation Department, the facility name will be unveiled, the logo will be introduced as well as a park celebrity guest appearance. There will be drawings for two family season passes and the first 100 children to arrive at the ceremony will receive a free pool noodle. There will also be a petting zoo, in keeping with the planned safari theme of the facility.
Parks and Facilities Director George Bryant said additional photos and stories of the former pool will be accepted by the department in upcoming months. Photos will be scanned on a daily basis and returned to the owner.
“Some photos and stories may be chosen to be displayed at the future aquatic facility,” information states.
Additional information is available by contacting the Parks and Recreation Department at 242-6890.