Crystal Beach Pool and Bath House – Madison IN


Works Progress Administration built the Crystal Beach Pool and Bath House in Madison IN.

The National Parks Service describes the history of the pool: “Madison’s Crystal Beach Swimming Pool and Bath House are two monuments of the WPA’s work in southern Indiana. They showcase the marriage of functionality and artistry seen in many WPA projects. Constructed in 1938, the pool and bath house embody the Craftsman style popular during the 1930s and 1940s.

Vincennes, Indiana, architect Lester Routt designed the two-story, rough-cut stone bath house, which features a full front porch with a wood balcony supported by stone columns. The gable-on-hip roof includes wide eave overhangs with exposed rafters, a characteristic usually found on Craftsman designs. The ground floor includes changing rooms and a concession area around a central passageway that leads to the pool. Second-floor space has been used as a roller skating rink, dance hall, and the local Boys Club’s meeting space.

The 20,000 gallon, nine-foot deep pool’s semi-circular (kidney, clam shell, open-fan) shape hugs the bath house and gracefully fits its landscaped surroundings. A wall made of the same rough-cut ashlar used in the bath house’s construction circles the pool area. Originally the pool was bordered by sand to help create a beach atmosphere and was illuminated by underwater porthole lights used during evening swims. Both elements were removed in the 1950s due to safety concerns. Renovated in 2004, the pool retains its historic shape and surroundings and is still a popular place to swim.

The Crystal Beach Pool contributes to the historic significance of the Madison Historic District, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and designated a National Historic Landmark.”

Source notes

The text included in the use/function question came from the NPS site on Crystal Beach Pool and Bath House (, accessed August 2020.

WPA marker on the pool house indicating the name of the city executives and construction date.

Project originally submitted by Nicole Schell on August 8, 2020.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.


Location Info

101 W Main Street
Madison, Indiana 47250

Coordinates: 38.734323, -85.384647

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