Huntington's Olympic Pool (1954-2006)
This photo, courtesy of the Herald-Dispatch, shows the thriving business of Ritter Park's Olympic Pool in the 1960s.1
The Olympic Pool also consisted of a separate, open pool for swimming, seen in the back of the photo.2
The Olympic Pool featured two slides and a mushroom, which sprinkled water into the pool. The slides were closed before the pool actually closed, due to injuries that occurred on the slides.2
Backstory and Context
After the levy tax had been completed and the funds had been raised, construction on the pools began. On Memorial Day, 1954, the series of swimming pools opened, including the Olympic Pool, which was named for its Olympic-size. Located on Twelfth Street West and Memorial Boulevard in Huntington, the Olympic Pool acted as a hot-spot for the youth in Huntington from the moment it opened. Complete with two slides, a sprinkling-mushroom, and concession stands, the Olympic Pool saw much-increased revenue within the 1960s through the 1980s. The Olympic Pool was also a favorite workplace for Huntington's youth; lifeguarding, cashiering, and food-prepping jobs could be found at the pool, and during the summer months, were mostly obtained by teenagers hoping to make some extra money.
Pool usage remained steady until the 1990s, when public pool usage across the country saw a precipitous decline While houses with pools became more common, much of the decline resulted from a youth that just preferred the indoors over the outdoors, even in the summer months. The decline in revenue occurred at a bad time, as the pool had been in commission for more than 40 years, and was in dire need of repairs. Unable to make the much-needed repairs, as well as unable to pay the staff and the bills, the Olympic Pool closed in 2000 after wrapping up its summer season. Unhappy with the closing of the pool, many volunteers combined their efforts and rallied for the reopening of the Olympic Pool. Under the volunteer efforts, the Olympic Pool reopened in 2004, only to be closed again and completely demolished in 2006. Today, the vacant field is used for soccer practices, game, and various activities.
2. Olympic Pool: Pictures, Photos, and Images from Huntington, WV. Topix. May 15, 2010. Accessed November 26, 2017. http://www.topix.com/album/detail/huntington-wv/VDKQME1IH74F6R74