|And now it’s time for beaver county memories presented by St. Barnabas Beaver Meadows. In today’s segment, we can all conjure up the images of grabbing a towel, hopping on the Schwinn stingray banana bike, putting a quarter in our pocket for a bottle of pop, and riding off to one of the many public swimming pools that once adorned the communities in Beaver County. With that in mind, let’s take a “dip” into this “deeply refreshing” segment about the swimming pools in Beaver County.
Alquippa was once home two at least three public pools, including one in West Aliquippa, one in Plan eleven and the most well known and most recent to close, the Aliquippa Municipal Pool, also known as the Woodlawn Park Swimming Pool, located in plan twelve near the Lefty Cepull ball fields. Constructed in the late twenties, in it’s heyday, the Aliquippa Municipal Pool has two big slides, diving boards and was big enough to hold hundreds of people at a time. In the latter years, the slides and diving boards had been removed, but the giant rectangular pool was still a very popular destination.
Across the river in Ambridge, The Ambridge Borough Park, later to be named Walter Panek Park, featured a fantastic pool and bath house at the western end of the complex. The “pool” actually featured two pools, a regular rectangular shaped swimming pool and a semi circular, smaller, deep diving pool located off the northern end of the larger pool. The Ambridge Borough Park pool opened in the forties and remained in use until the nineties.
In Beaver Falls, residents of the College Hill and Morado neighborhoods would have a short walk of ride on the bicycle to the Henrich Memorial Pool which was located on fourth avenue at the northern end of town. In the late eighties, the traditional rectangular pool was replaced by the Norma Heinrich Wave Pool in the same location. It remained open until about ten years ago. In the earlier days, there was also an outdoor skating rink at the popular recreational complex.
No story about swimming in Beaver County can be done without covering Darlington Lake. Though not officially a pool, Darlington Lake had a cement bottom and beautifully maintained beach and bathhouse area on one end of the small lake. As one of the only privately owned public swimming options in Beaver County, Darlington Lake stole the show figuratively and literally, adding rock concerts, fireworks, and other attractions to the venue to promote attendance. Local bands like the Granti Brothers as well as national acts like Humble Pie, the Outlaws and Molly Hatchet among others entertained the crowds at Darlington Lake through the years. Nowadays, Darlington Lake is as popular as ever. Though the public swimming ended many years ago, the venue has been completely made over and is a popular choice to host events called The Gathering Place.
For a brief run from the eighties through the early two thousands, Monaca was home to Beaver County’s only water slides. Alaire Park in Monaca was all the rage for area youth to twist and turn down through the tubes that once were a part of the municipal owned park that still also features ball fields and picnic pavilions.
In 1973, one of the more innovative pool designs and management partnerships came to fruition when New Brighton Area School District opened The Sunrise Pool, which was part of a new high school construction project at the time. The pool features a retractable bubble cover held in place by positive air pressure that keeps the pool open in the winter and is removed for summertime warm weather enjoyment. Though owned and currently run by the school district, The Sunrise pool at various times has been managed by The Brighton Recreation Commission. It is still a popular destination all year round for individuals, private parties, and even hosts the swimming segment of the annual New Brighton Recreation Commission Memorial Day weekend Triathlon, which draws hundreds of competitors from far and near to the facility.
This has been Beaver County memories, presented by St. Barnabas Beaver Meadows. Tune in every day at this time for more Beaver County memories. A transcript of this and other archived editions of Beaver County memories can be found at Beaver County radio dot com.