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  • 109th St. Pool - Los Angeles CA
    The WPA helped in improvements at this pool that put 66 people to work in 1939. 53,300 man hours were used. $36,211 went toward labor and $3,129 to other expenses. As of Winter 2015, the facility was extant but being extensively renovated.
  • Abilene State Park - Tuscola TX
    "The Civilian Conservation Corps, Roosevelt’s first New Deal recovery program, built the original parts of Abilene State Park, including picnic areas and swimming pool complex. In 1934, the 507 acres were dedicated as a state park. According to the Taylor County Historical Commission, another CCC company, all black veterans, returned a year later to finish the effort, repairing roads and building a stone water tower." (Abilene Reporter-News)
  • Adel Swimming Pool - Adel IA
    A public swimming pool in Adel IA was built by the Works Progress Administration in 1935. One of the earliest municipal pools constructed in Iowa, the facility was around for a good share of historical events – war, environmental disasters, and cultural and economic changes. “When the pool was completed,” states Allison McNeal of the Dallas County News, “it was quite an attraction to residents including the fact that it had covered restrooms and a bathhouse, uncommon for the era.” The WPA project also provided unemployment relief for area residents. Over time, the pool faced a lack of upkeep as well as...
  • Alabama State Training School for Girls (former) Swimming Pool - Chalkville AL
    The Works Progress Administration built a swimming pool for the former State Training School for Girls in Chalkville, Alabama, near Birmingham.
  • Alice Keith Park Swimming Pool - Beaumont TX
    The Alice Keith Park Swimming Pool in Beaumont, TX was built by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in 1938. A ten-acre municipal tract, Alice Keith Park was constructed in 1932 to help alleviate unemployment and provide a recreational space in the southeastern section of the city. The Superintendent of Parks and Recreation remarked after the pool’s completion: “As a WPA project, which included sewer lines, sidewalks, and other park improvements, the pool was constructed and landscaped in about six months and was opened May 28 , designated as city-wide ‘Splash Day.’ The pool is the last word in modern appearance,...
  • Alice Whitney Park Dam (demolished) - St. Cloud MN
    The Works Progress Administration (WPA) built the Alice Whitney Park Dam on the Sauk River in St. Cloud MN in 1938.  WPA workers also built steps going down the riverbank to the dam and a path along the river.  The dam was  meant to provide a swimming hole for park users. The dam was about 4 feet tall and provided a walking path to get across the river, connecting Whitney Park and Sauk River Park.  All of the stone and wood was cut by WPA workers.  The dam’s purpose was to raise the water level of the Sauk River to create a...
  • Anacostia Park: Improvements - Washington DC
    Anacostia Park is one of Washington DC's two largest parks and recreation areas, along with Rock Creek Park.  It covers over 1200 acres along the Anacostia River from South Capitol Street SE to the Maryland boundary in NE.  The New Deal improved the park in major ways, after the Capital Parks system was put under the control of the National Park Service (NPS) by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1933. New Deal public works agencies developed such key features of the park as Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens, Langston Golf Course and Anacostia Pool (see linked pages). Besides those major elements, improvements included,...
  • Anacostia Park: Swimming Pool - Washington DC
    In 1936, the Public Works Administration (PWA) provided $69,036 for the construction of a swimming pool in Anacostia Park (about $1.3 million in 2020 dollars). The pool was built by the BZ Contracting Company of New York and completed in early 1937. It was reported that, “The new pool will accommodate about 500 swimmers” (Evening Star, January 24, 1937). In 1949, Anacostia Pool was the scene of fighting when black youths attempted to use the facility, which was formally not segregated but, in practice, used exclusively by whites. A pro-segregation group was irritated when white members of the “Young Progressives” handed...
  • Arlington Heights Recreation Center and Pool - Arlington Heights IL
    The Arlington Heights Recreation Center, which was built between 1936 and 1939, was created through the Works Progress Administration. The idea for the project was first conceived in 1934, but financial support did not become available to start the building of the Center until 1936. The community could not fund the project on its own, but it still wanted to provide its citizens with some sort of community recreation center. When a straw vote failed to pass the plans for a public swimming facility, Arlington Heights reached out to officials in Washington and of the WPA for $200,000 in funding to...
  • Asser Levy Recreation Center Pools - New York NY
    On May 31, 1938, the Department of Parks announced "that plans were being prepared for the renovation of nine public bath houses transferred to them from the jurisdiction of the Borough President of Manhattan." The improvements were to be done "with relief labor under the supervision of the Works Progress Administration and inspected by the Department of Parks." At what is now the Asser Levy Recreation Center, the renovations included the construction of two new swimming pools: "At 23rd Street and Avenue A where there is adequate vacant city-owned land available, a new outdoor swimming pool, 125 ft. long x 50 ft....
  • Astoria Park Pool - Astoria NY
    Astoria Park  pool opened on July 2, 1936. It was the largest of the eleven WPA pools built throughout the city that year. It was the site of the Olympic swimming and diving trials for the 1936 Olympics, just as Randall's Island Stadium was for track and field. "Parks Commissioner Robert Moses, an avid swimmer himself, recognized the importance of aquatic recreation and launched a campaign to open eleven new pools throughout the city during the summer of 1936. The labor and construction came from the Works Progress Administration (WPA), whose administrator Harry Hopkins described the pool in Queens as, 'The finest in the world.'...
  • Avalon Park - Chicago IL
    Avalon Park was one of the last projects of the WPA that was approved by Harry Hopkins and Controller General J.R. McCarl in 1935 and was an example during the Great Depression of how the government was interested in giving pleasurable entertainment and culture to the community of the Chicago South Side. The park is located between 83rd and 85th streets, with South Kimbark Avenue on the east side and is approximately 28 acres . Pre-New Deal, in 1931 landscape architect Robert Moore created a plan for the park and Alderman Michael F. Mulcahy was also involved in jumpstarting plans...
  • Babcock State Park - Clifftop WV
    "Babcock, one of the earliest state parks, covers 4,127 acres. It was opened on July 1, 1937, and built as a public works program during the Great Depression. The main facilities and trails were constructed between 1934 and 1937 by young workers employed through the Civilian Conservation Corps. The main park headquarters, 13 cabins, a horse stable, superintendent’s house, a natural swimming pool, and picnic facilities were constructed from locally quarried stone and American chestnut trees killed by the chestnut blight. The door latches and other metal work were hand-forged on site by CCC workers. The landscape had been completely...
  • Badger Park - Shullsburg WI
    "The landscape was planned and supervised by Phillip Wyman, a landscape architect from Milwaukee in the 1930's. This park holds an important geographical position in the visual landscape of the city. Badger Park is an 81/2 acre park, developed in 1934-1935 as a WPA project... The park includes a swimming pool, bath house, shelter houses, double tennis courts, concession stand, a picnic ground with fireplaces, tables and benches, a natural amphitheater commanding a view of two baseball diamonds and a football field... After the details were worked out, final approval was given by the federal government to start the park...
  • Bailey Park - Austin TX
    In November 1935, the Works Progress Administration authorized $8243.00 for the construction and improvements at a new two acre playground, which would become Bailey Park. The improvements included two tennis courts, a baseball diamond, wading pool, light, water and sewer facilities and a shelter house. The City of Austin added $4751.30 for the project.
  • Balmorhea State Park - Toyahvale TX
    The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC): 1856 CCC Camp SP-47-T operated in this corner of west Texas. The CCC developed Balmorhea State Park, and constructed its iconic pool, between 1935 and 1940. Texas.gov: CCC Company 1856 arrived here in July 1934. They first built barracks, a mess hall and a kitchen to support 130 to 200 men and their supervisors. This would be home for the next few years. The CCC men crafted a 1.3-acre pool around the springs, along with a concession building, two bath houses, San Solomon Courts, and other improvements in the park. They used local limestone and fashioned adobe bricks...
  • Banneker Recreation Center Development - Washington DC
    During the 1930s, Banneker Recreation Area was developed as part of a larger Capital Parks improvement program undertaken by the Public Works Administration (PWA), Civil Work Adminstration (CWA), Works Progress Administration (WPA), and Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Notably, the CWA was responsible for the completion of the historic Banneker Swimming Pool and Bath House in 1933-34.  Those facilities are still in place. Other New Deal work at Banneker included: “...tennis courts built; baseball diamond, football and soccer fields graded and equipped; running track and horseshoe courts installed; landscaping around field house completed.”   (National Archives) Most of this was probably done by the WPA, which...
  • Bartow Civic Recreation Center and Pool (former) - Bartow FL
    The Bartow Civic Recreation Center and pool were built ca. 1933-1935.  Records suggest the project was started by workers in the Civil Works Administration (CWA) and completed by workers in the Work Division of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA). Around 1969-1973, the recreation center became the Oaks School.  In 2005, the Oaks School closed, and the current use of the building is unknown.  The pool no longer exists.  (A new civic center was built in 1967, on Floral Avenue.) The construction of the building was described in great detail by Mary E. Adkins, in the January 27, 1934 edition of the...
  • Bastrop State Park - Bastrop TX
    This beautiful park is nestled in the "Lost Pines" area of Texas. The park was built as a CCC project and opened to the public in 1937. In September 2011 96% of the park was burned by a devastating wildfire; some of the burn damage is still visible, but the park is regenerating. The fire spared the refectory and the cabins built by the CCC. A CCC pavilion at the overlook suffered damage to the wood roof, but today has been rebuilt. "The architect of Bastrop State Park, Arthur Fehr, followed National Park Service design principles that suggested harmony with the...
  • Bathhouse and Swimming Pool - Electra TX
    The Electra city pool "was built in 1935-36 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the facility includes a stone building with native stone from the area."
  • Bathing Pool - Rockland MA
    The Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.) developed a bathing pool at "Reed Park" in Rockland, Mass., in 1937. WPA Bulletin: "Under construction is a wading pool with a sandy bottom. Shrubbery is being planted. The pond shore has been cleared and sanded, steps and platforms have been built and the adjacent land beautified." The exact location of this project is not presently known to Living New Deal.
  • Beachland Park Pool and Bathhouse - West Hartford CT
    The Works Progress Administration (WPA) constructed the Beachland Park pool and bathhouse in West Hartford CT in 1936.  
  • Bessey Ranger District Construction and Reforestation - Halsey NE
    The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) reforested "20,000 acres of drifting sand hills and expanded Bessey Forest Nursery producing 30 million saplings for reforestation." The CCC also "constructed a public campground and picnic area, shelter house, bath houses, and a swimming pool in the park."
  • Betsy Head Pool - Brooklyn NY
    In 1936 the Betsy Head Park in Brooklyn, New York, "was redesigned extensively and the Olympic-sized swimming pool was constructed. Architect John Matthews Hatton’s pool house exemplified the sleek Art Moderne style with liberal use of glass block and a parasol roof. One of eleven pools built by the Works Progress Administration during the summer of 1936, the pool is a relic of the New Deal era. The construction project, organized by Parks Commissioner Robert Moses, and funded by the federal government, was part of a citywide effort to erect recreational facilities in under-served neighborhoods. The pools represented the forefront of...
  • Big Pool Additions - Garden City KS
    Big Pool opened in Garden City KS in 1922. The Works Progress Administration added a bath house and a children's wading pool.
  • Blanchette Park - St. Charles MO
    Blanchette Park is a large park overlooking the Missouri River Valley in northern St. Charles which was the first Missouri State Capital. The WPA's work in the park included a swimming pool, lake, walks and fences, and remodeling of Memorial Hall in the park.
  • Boyd Park Pavilion - La Grange GA
    The WPA constructed a city pool and pavilion for La Grange's city park in 1935. It was closed in 2007. The whole park is now undergoing extensive renovations. The pool is no longer there, but the original pavilion is being rehabilitated. The project is expected to be completed in late 2015.
  • Bragg Pond Swimming Area - Hartland CT
    The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) constructed a "recreational area for swimming at Bragg Pond."
  • Bronx Park, Waring Playground - Bronx NY
    "Waring Playground in Bronx Park, across Bronx Park East from the block between Waring Avenue and Thwaite Place, June 17, 2015. It opened on September 28, 1939, as part of the larger project of developing the land turned over by the New York Botanical Garden to the Parks Department. Although the Parks Department's September 27, 1939 press release does not explicitly credit the WPA or any other New Deal agency with building or funding this facility, it states that it "is a unit in a chain of children's recreation areas already built or now under construction along the easterly boundaries...
  • Brook Field Park Swimming Pool - Richmond VA
    The Works Progress Administration (WPA) constructed Richmond’s Brook Field Park Swimming Pool in 1938. The pool was a segregated one, operating exclusively for the African American people of the city, as was normal practice in the Jim Crow era.   Made out of concrete, the pool’s physical dimensions were listed as 185 x 60 feet by 2 and a half to 11 feet deep. Like other WPA pool projects, the Brook Field Park Swimming Pool included the most modern equipment of the day, including a circulation pump and filter system as well as water treatment tools and a series of floodlights....
  • Bruce Park Swimming Pool - New Martinsville WV
    This swimming pool, with a unique design (above ground, concrete), is in New Martinsville, West Virginia. It was operational until just a few years ago. I swam there often as a child. Unfortunately, though it is still in existence, the pool needs repairs, and the town council refused to spend the money on the project, to the chagrin of constituents. It was built by the WPA. See the attached news article for a photo and history. The signage is original to the period.
  • Bufano Park - Bronx NY
    A New York City Parks Department press release from August 26, 1939 describes the WPA’s role in developing what is now known as Bufano Park: “The Department of Parks announces that the two acre playground bounded by Bradford, Edison, LaSalle and Waterbury Avenues, in the Borough of The Bronx, will be opened to the general public without ceremony on Saturday, August 26th... This playground was planned by the Department of Parks and the work performed by the Work Projects Administration. Besides a completely equipped children's playground with wading pool, it includes eight handball courts, a softball diamond and a large asphalt surfaced...
  • Burnham Park Pool - Morristown NJ
    A local newspaper reported that, “Sixty Morristown and ten Morris Township men went to work this morning on placing a rock bottom in Burnham Park swimming pool. This was one of two federal-aid projects approved for immediate start here in order to give unemployed work….Forty of the men are at Brookside Reservoir racking up the rock with which the bottom of the pool will be rip-rapped and 30 at Burnham Pool preparing it for the fill. It was at first hoped to be able to construct a concrete bottom but as this would involve too much material and not enough...
  • Burnside Avenue Playground Development - East Hartford CT
    The Works Progress Administration (WPA) conducted a project "the clearing and grubbing of land on the eastern edge of the Burnside Avenue Playground and installation of drives and walks." Furthermore, the WPA installed a "new drinking fountain ... at the Burnside Avenue Plavground near the tennis courts. This was done in connection with the laying of a new six-inch water feed line for filling the wading pool." The park in question is unclear to Living New Deal.
  • California Woods Nature Preserve Pool House - Cincinnati OH
    California Woods Nature Preserve was built in 1938 by Hubert M. Garriott and John W. Becker . The WPA hired local workers to built this modern 2 story pool house. Surrounded by woods and beautiful scenery, people got to enjoy coming here and soaking up some sun and playing in the community pool. This project allowed many people to provide for their families and be contributing members of society. Years after being built it was then used as a day camp. Some years later it was marked as a nature preserve.
  • Cameron Swimming Pool - Cameron WV
    In 1939, the Public Works Administration funded the construction of a swimming pool in Cameron, WV.
  • Camp Herms Swimming Pool - El Cerrito CA
    Originally known as Camp Berkeley, what is now Camp Herms contains a WPA swimming pool with dressing and shower rooms. The style was influenced by Mayan architecture. "The year 1938 marked the inauguration of a program of extensive improvements at Camp Herms... The City of El Cerrito sponsored the project and the City Engineer was to act as liaison between the W.P.A. and the council... The W. H. Gibson Foundation gave the council $2,500 for the construction of a pool and the Scout Executive accepted the responsibility of raising approximately $125,000 in cash and materials for the project. This included the swimming pool,...
  • Canonsburg Town Park Swimming Pool - Canonsburg PA
    Multiple New Deal agencies worked to construct a municipal pool for Canonsburg, Pennsylvania in 1934—1936. The prospect of a pool had been discussed for years, though no progress was made until assistance from New Deal work relief programs was made available. The pool facility was constructed in stages on what had then been a ravine, in the municipal park. Initial construction, which involved the Civil Works Administration (CWA), would be limited to leveling the site, installing storm sewers to "enclose" the ravine, and constructing the 100-foot-by-200-foot pool and filtration plant—not the bathhouse or sidewalks. Work was to be done "by hand...
  • Carver Park Bathhouse and Pool - Milwaukee WI
    "The bathhouse and original swimming pool were built in 1940 with the help of the WPA program. Under County jurisdiction the site was originally named Lapham Park. This name was used until the late 1950’s when it was changed to Carver Park."
  • Carver Park Pool (former) - Hackensack NJ
    The WPA and NYA worked to construct a large wading pool in what is now known as Carver Park, in 1936. The pool is no longer extant. Paterson, New Jersey's Evening News wrote on May 8, 1936: Thirty Negro workers of the National Youth Administration pulled the last piece of brush from a 5-lot tract at the corner of Second and Clay streets today, and began the second half of excavation for a wading pool 315 feet in circumference. The work is part of a WPA project, sponsored by the city. Workers there reported the five lots cleared and a 155-foot ditch...
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