WPA Swimming Pools, Golf
The WPA Circus and Other Fun Things
Swimming Pools Built by the WPA:
Even though swimming pools are not traditionally considered an art form, one of the accomplishments of the WPA was the construction of many swimming pools in the USA. Some of these pools are, indeed, examples of architecture as art. While there doesn't seem to be a complete list of these WPA swimming pools, a partial list includes:
Ceres High School, Ceres, CA - http://www.ceres.k12.ca.us/chs/archives/history.shtml
Mystic Waters Family Aquatic Center, Rand Park, Des Plaines, IL - http://www.lib.niu.edu/ipo/ip980748.html
Roosevelt Park, Glenview, IL
Municipal swimming pool, Mt. Carmel, IL - http://www.mount-carmel.il.us/community/main.htm
Fowler City Park, Fowler, KS - http://www.rahab.net/townsquare/Fowler/f_park.htm
Swope Park, Kansas City, KS - http://www.kclibrary.org/sc/post/parks/20000452.htm
Forsythe Park, Monroe, LA - http://www.nutrias.org/photos/wpa/wpa47.htm
New Orleans Lafitte Playground http://www.nutrias.org/photos/wpa/wpa36.htm
Old Mill State Park, Thief River Falls, Minnesota - http://www.trftimes.com/archive/times062399/swimming.htm
Maplewood, MO - www.ci.maplewood.mo.us/Documents/Newsletters/julyaug00.pdf
Delta State University, Cleveland, MS - http://wwwlib.deltast.edu/anniversary/history/timeline2.htm
Park, Raleigh, NC -
Sunset Park, New York, New York - http://www.citylimits.org/archives/9901suns.htm
Columbus Grove Park, Columbus, OH - http://www.thecourier.com/issues/1999/jun/obits060299.htm
East Palatine, OH - http://www.eastpalestineohio.org/htmls/Park/park%20festival.html
Sayre Park (rock swimming pool), Sayre, OK - http://www.lasr.net/leisure/oklahoma/beckham/sayre/body.html
The town of St. Helens, OR has a functioning swimming pool that was built in 1939 by the WPA. This pool has a tunnel that surrounds the pool so the pipes are accessible. There is a large pool with an adjoining smaller pool.
Eddy Swimming Pool, Austin, TX - http://www.beal-net.com/laluna/deepeddybathhouse.html
Golf Courses Built by the WPA:
Many of the golf courses built during this period were constructed by the CCC, but these were specifically built by the WPA. At this time, Rand Jerris of United States Golf Association is working on a research project to identify any golf courses built by the WPA or the CCC. If you know of any other WPA or CCC golf courses, please email Dr. Jerris at RJerris@USGA.org and help add to this list!
There is a great site entitled "WPA and New Deal Golf Courses" which has additional information!
Park Golf Course, Aurora, IL
Golf Course in St. Paul, MN - The clubhouse and pro shop were constructed
with stone and mortar as W.P.A. projects.
Golf Course in Forsyth, Georgia - built in 1935
Golf Course, New Orleans, LA. - constructed by WPA as part of the vast
City Park Improvement program.
Rock Golf Course in NYC
Golf Course in Naco, AZ - built in 1936
Bedford Municipal Golf Club
Country Golf Course in Reno NV - built in 1936
Park Golf Course, Kalamazoo, MI - the second 9 holes were built in
1936 by the WPA
State University Golf Course - built in 1935
Park Municipal Course opens in College Park
Wright Golf Course in Hyde Park, MA - Designed by the famed Donald
Ross as a WPA project in the 1930s, George Wright was built on a site unfit
for a golf course.
City Park Golf Course - Pueblo, CO
The WPA Circus
For about five years the federal government of the United States was in the circus business. Part of the New Deal programs included the WPA Circus, which was part of the Federal Theatre Project. The WPA was the only instance of a state-sponsored circus in the United States. It provided work for many out of work showfolks such as the great rider Oscar Lowande (by then over the hill and performing on clown alley), old-time strong woman Kate Sandwina and up and comer Burt Lancaster who later, of course, made it big in the movies. It also provided free entertainment to tens of thousands of children. Burns O'Sullivan, a former manager for Andrew Downie and later for Fred Buchanan's Gorman Bros. Circus, was the managing director. The WPA Circus began in late 1935 and lasted through 1939. The show had an incredible 55 piece band and one elephant, Japino or Jap from Honest Bill Newton. She once escaped, and was rounded up by the police who mistakenly (although understandably) returned her to the Ringling-Barnum Circus, then appearing in Madison Square Garden. This was the only case in American field show history where an escaped elephant was returned to the wrong party. The show was out 21 weeks starting in late May, playing all around New York City and Long Island. 225,000 people saw the show during the under-canvas tour. From "WPA Circus," Federal Theatre Project, (1937)
Other Fun Things Built by
Fish Hatchery in Rochester, IN near Akron, IN. Located in Lakeview Park on north side of east Ninth street (formerly Mill Race Park) the Federal fish hatchery was built in 1935 by the WPA: it now includes a municipal golf course, and a swimming pool.
Fish Hatchery, Senecaville, Ohio - built in 1937 by the WPA.
River Bath House in Oroville, CA - In the mid 1930's the WPA built
the rock bath house. The bath house provided showers and restroom facilities
for the swimmers and sunbathers.
Park Zoo in Seattle, WA was partially built by the WPA including "a
totem pole designed by Frank Vincenzi and carved by WPA labor was set up
in the southwest part of the zoo not far from the 55th St./Phinney Ave.
entrance. The Vincenzi pole was removed at an unknown date and also never
© 2005 Nancy Lorance
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