First Season of Carr’s Pool

1926 photo courtesy of Jerry Jones
Ames bathers pose with a lifeguard on a diving board in 1926, the first season of Carr's Pool.  Emmet Carr's pool was originally referred to as the pool at Riverside Park.  At this time, the pool walls are unpainted, there are no concrete walkways around the pool, and the gutters overflow directly to the ground.  This photo looks west at the north end of the pool.  In the background at left one can spot 16th street winding up the hill towards the Carr home.

Ames Daily Tribune and Ames Evening Times, June 18, 1926


Only a few days left to buy season tickets at a discount.  Swim as often as you like all season.  Adults, $4.00; children, $2.00.  These tickets admit you to park any time.  Pool opens about July 1st.  It's one of the finest and safest in the U.S.A.  175 feet long, 60 feet wide.  Floor and walls solid concrete; Depth 1 to 5 and one half feet.  Season tickets on sale at Reynolds & Iverson, Dragoun Cigar Store, Hedrick's Campus Shop and at Riverside Park.  Phone 623-W.  Drive north on Duff Ave. to 16th St.  Turn east to Park.

Ames Daily Tribune and Ames Evening Times, June 10, 1926


The new swimming pool being constructed by R.E. Carr in Riverside park will be ready for use July 1, Mr. Carr said today.  Concrete is now being poured and mains for the sanitary system and fountain are already laid.  The big tank, 60x175 feet, will be the last word in swimming pool construction and sanitation, he stated, and work is being rushed in order that everything may be ready for the hot weather which is sure to come in July and August.

Almost daily some additional project is started.  Construction of a two-story band stand has begun, rowboats have been ordered and plans made for increasing the flow of the mineral spring now on the grounds.  The big well to supply water for the pool is being drilled this week.  Mr. Carr also contemplates sinking several additional wells for the convenience of picnic parties.

He may be obliged to construct a number of cottages on the east bank of Skunk river in accordance with numerous requests received since plans for the recreation park were first announced.  The lower floor of the band stand will be used for a refreshment stand.

Work will be started in a few days on a pontoon bridge over the river and there is a possibility that a dance pavilion may be constructed before the season closes, according to Mr. Carr.  Arrangements have been made, he stated, to extend the city electric lines to the park to provide illumination.

Full page ad from July 3, 1926

Ames Daily Tribune and Ames Evening Times, July 6, 1926


Patriotic gatherings in Ames and adjoining communities Sunday marked Fourth of July observance for Story county people.  Of primary importance to Ames people was the patriotic program at Maxwell park sponsored by the Christian churches of Boone and Story counties which was attended by 2,000 persons.

Judge Hubert Utterback of Des Moines in the principal address issued a challenge to good citizenship.  A talk by Miss Charlotte Fraser, immigration worker of New York City, dealt with a related subject.  Miss Fraser also spoke last night at the Baptist church on her work among the foreigners.

Several thousand persons heard Col. Smith W. Brookhart, republican nominee for United States senator, in a patriotic address at Dayton's park Sunday afternoon.  The Des Moines University choir under the direction of Dean Raymond Carr was also an attraction at Dayton's.

Many Story county persons were at Lake Comar Sunday to take part in the patriotic ceremonies conducted by the Ames post, American Legion which were part of a nation-wide program given by Legion posts thruout the country at the same hour.


The Fourth also marked the opening of Riverside park with its large swimming pool on East Sixteenth street.  During the weekend, scores of local people found relief from the heat in the pool which had just been completed for the holiday.  The Ames municipal band appeared in three concerts at the park Sunday.

Seventy-three flights were reported by the Gerbracht Aeronautic company during the opening two days of its airport, about 60 per cent of the passengers being women.  Every city in Story county was represented among the passengers, while three tourists parties stopped to take a flight.  Wilford Gerbracht, who holds both national and international pilot licenses, piloted the Pegasus on all flights.  More than 4,000 persons visited the airport the first two days, according to check made at the gate.

Ames Daily Tribune and Ames Evening Times, August 16, 1926


The performance of Carroll Underwood and Margaret Maitland, youthful aquatic stars, was the chief attraction of the "splash day" program at Riverside park Sunday.  The two little girls gave demonstrations of the various life saving holds, breaks and carries and gave an exhibition of fancy diving.  The "splash day," sponsored by the junior life saving corps of Riverside park directed by C.E. Daubert, jr., consisted of life saving, diving and swimming exhibitions.

Winners in the various events were:
Fancy diving for boys 18 years and under, Don Mason; fancy diving for girls 18 years and under, Carroll Underwood; 40-yard free style for boys 16 years and under, Edward Gray; 20-yard free style for girls 15 years and under, Lysetta Underwood; 20-yard free style for boys 10 years and under, Kenneth Batman; pigeon race for boys 16 years and under, Harry Largent.

Prizes were donated by Smith-Morris Fair store, Dudgeon’s jewelry store and Bosworth’s drug company.

This photo from a 1929 photo album shows Bobby posing atop the unpainted aeration tower.  Evidently, every generation disobeyed the two rules, Stay off the airifier and Don't swim under the stairs. Learn more about the history of Carr's Pool. Carr's Pool hosted a swim program for the Story County Society for Crippled Children.
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Tribune photo from June, 1956
It was common to park bicycles at the top of the hill next to Emmet Carr's house before swimming to avoid the risky ride up the steep gravel road at the east end of 16th Street.  Some chose to ride down and then walk their bikes back up the hill after swimming.
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Tribune photo from May 20, 1953 (scanned from a deteriorated negative)


Four-year-old Patsy Carr, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Farrel Carr, sits on the steps and yearns in anticipation for the swimming season to start at Carr's pool.  The date for the opening is set officially for May 30, Decoration Day.  However, should the weather be favorable this Sunday, the pool will be opened then, according to "Dad" Carr, owner and operator.  Patrons of the pool will find a completely redecorated pool when the swimming season opens.  The redecorated pool has a new coat of marine blue, rubber-base paint on its walls, which were first sandblasted to remove several layers of cement paint.  The floor is painted white.  A new five-foot fence with a special gate for persons in wheelchairs has replaced the old fence around the pool.  Water began flowing into the pool at 2 p.m. last Friday.  It is expected to cover the floor by tonight.  Four days of around-the-clock pumping are required to fill the half-million-gallon capacity pool.  Water from a well is pumped through filters and into the pool at a rate of 100 gallons a minute.  However, several interruptions have delayed the process this week.

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A busy August day at Carr's Pool is shown in this Tribune photo from 1957.