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Before Western Springs Had A Swimming Pool

In the early 1950’s, Western Springs was growing by leaps and bounds. But, without air conditioning, most kids could only dream of having a village swimming pool.

Western Springs Service Club Pool - circa 1960
Western Springs Service Club Pool - circa 1960
In 1955, the Western Springs Chamber of Commerce saw a growing need for a community swimming pool.  But, with both the local government and park district strapped for cash, there was little likelihood of it being built. That is, unless the Chamber got involved.

 

Soon, a meeting was held in a home on Grand Avenue where a group of businessmen from the Chamber mapped out a plan. They would send out a post card to each home in town and ask whether residents would support the construction of a pool without direct government involvement.

 

When the survey was completed, the results were very positive.  So, the group decided to form a not-for-profit group called the “Western Springs Service Club”.  Next, they arranged with a bonding company to sell $90,000 worth of bonds ($100 face value) to 900 residents. This would cover the cost of purchasing vacant land at the west end of Hillgrove Avenue, as well as constructing a pool. Season memberships would then be sold to finance its on-going operation.

 

As expected, the residents purchased all of the bonds and the pool was finished in time for the 1956 swimming season. And, on its first day of operation, an estimated 850 members turned out.

 

Six years later, the village had outgrown the single pool and the Service Club floated another $90,000 bond issue with the proceeds going toward building an adjacent pool, a wading pool for smaller children, and an expanded bath house. And, in 1962, the new pool opened to delighted crowds.

While the Service Club has faced any number of maintenance and financial challenges during its nearly 60 years of operation, it continues to serve as a summertime magnet for both the young and young-at-heart. 

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