July 20, 2015

Plunge Into the Past With These Five Historic Swimming Pools

  • By: Kara Timberlake


Coral Gables' Venetian Pool is a cornerstone of the community.

In the wake of our previous historic swimming pools post, we’ve arranged a tour of five more historic pools to help you escape the sweltering summer heat. Dip your toes into these refreshingly cool swimming spots from around the country.

The Venetian Pool was built in 1924.

Venetian Pool: Coral Gables, Florida

Developer George Merrick, architect Phineas Paist, and artist Denman Fink, pooled talents to transform an old rock quarry into Coral Gables’ Venetian Pool in 1924. The design employs Mediterranean features, including a Venetian-style bridge. In 1981, Venetian Pool was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Deep Eddy Pool in Austin has roots dating back to the 1920s.

Deep Eddy Pool: Austin, Texas

What began as a swimming hole in Austin’s Colorado River became a man-made hub in the 1920s. In 1936, the city of Austin bought the property and converted it into a public park. The oldest swimming pool in Texas, Deep Eddy features a bathhouse built by the Works Progress Administration and serves as inspiration for a variety of art. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Frog Pond sits at the heart of the oldest public park in the United States.

Boston Common Frog Pond: Boston, Massachusetts

In 1634, the city of Boston purchased 48 acres otherwise known as Boston Common, America’s oldest public park. Of the three ponds that were added to the grounds in the late 1600s, Frog Pond is the only one that remains. Perhaps the United State’s oldest public swimming facility, Frog Pond now features an ice rink during winter, a reflecting pool during the spring and fall, and a spray pool during the summer.

The Huey P. Long Fieldhouse Pool served as the training facility for LSU's swim team.

Huey P. Long Field House Pool: Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Named for one-time U.S. Senator and state governor Huey Long, the Field House, constructed in 1932 on the campus of Louisiana State University, served as the school’s first student union and featured the largest outdoor swimming pool in the United States at the time. The Field House was designed by Weiss, Dreyfus and Seiferth -- the same firm that designed the Louisiana State Capitol building and Governor’s Mansion. The pool hosted swim lessons and served as a training ground for the men’s swim team who won the SEC championship in 1988. However, the pool fell into disrepair and closed its doors in 2003. Currently, the Field House is slated for renovations with a proposal to transform the original pool into a lawn area featuring a water fixture.

A new man-made pool replaced the naturally occurring San Pedro Springs in 1954.

San Pedro Springs Park: San Antonio, Texas

This 1852, 46-acre park is the oldest in Texas. Designated a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark in 1965, the park was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. While people have been swimming in the San Pedro Springs waters for generations, the natural pool dried up in 1940. However, in 1954, a new, man-made pool was installed in its place.

Announcing the 2024 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

See the List