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May 26, 2020

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Once upon a swimming pool


The Icon has posted these photo previously, but it's summer and let's go back to the Buckeye.

Here's three color views of Buckeye quarry, where swimming was once a Bluffton summer experience. Paul Diller snapped these photos.

The pool was on the east side of the Buckeye. It is included a bath house, baby pool, larger pool going to 6 feet, and the Buckeye quarry for persons who could pass a swim test. The Buckeye had three diving boards.

These photos were taken when the pool was new in the mid-1950s. We base that on seeing the small light blue admission stand on the far right side of the photo. Later the admission stand was removed and a newer entrance to the pool was added.

Note what appears to be a grass area near the Buckeye deck. That area was eventually put in cement.

How did Paul take the view that looks down on the pool? It appears that he was standing on the high diving board, or on a ladder outside the pool fence.

Other Icon viewer observations are welcome (comment at at the bottom of this story.) - Photos from collection of Jim Diller.

And, just when you think you know everything there is to know about Bluffton, this black and white photo shows up.

Ask your grandparents to explain this.  If they can’t help, keep reading.

It’s a photograph of the "floating" pool that served swimmers in Bluffton as early as the mid-to-late 1920s (based upon the style of swim suit in the photo) to the early 1950s.

It was constructed on the east bank of the Buckeye and then was moved to the quarry where it floated to allow swimming.

If you examine this photo carefully you'll see dozens of large barrels. Those kept the pool afloat.

Charles Hilty says he can recall being in the shallower side of the pool (the one on our left as we look at it), perhaps as early as 1938-39, and adds that his mother spoke to him about her being panicky, even in the shallow side of this floating pool, before Hilty was born in 1934.

This story gets better. What happened to the pool?

In the mid-1950s the pool was sunk and can be seen from the north bank when the water is very clear.

John Sommers recalls in the mid-1970s that he and Rob Strahm would scuba dive, and pick the many lures off the sunken pool. He said that you could see it from the shore when water was clear near the large shelter house. It was often a place to see very large carp sitting in the bottom of it.

Doug Hahn confirmed that you can still see the pool on a bright shining day if the water is clear, at the north end of the Buckeye.