The First Swimming Pool

By on April 13, 2012

As part of the College of Mines’ post-World War II expansion, the campus constructed its first swimming pool during 1945.  According to the October 13, 1945 Prospector, “Funds for the swimming pool – $30,000 – were raised by the College of Mines Committee of the Chamber of Commerce, headed by J.B. Blaugrund.” The pool, located south of the Centennial Museum, opened on August 18, 1945.  Lined with blue and green tiles, the pool was regulation size and built for intercollegiate swimming and diving meets.  Students were allowed to use the new pool if they presented a health certificate from a physician and paid a 25 cent fee, which helped cover the pool’s upkeep and operations.   College of Mines, and later Texas Western College, promotional literature often mentioned the swimming pool.  The January 1953 issue of On Campus at Texas Western stated that the swimming pool was the “Hub of warm weather activities,” and was “equipped with the latest purification system, diving boards and…plenty of room for sun-bathing.” Besides being a social gathering place on campus, the pool witnessed several pranks in 1956.  These pranks included placing one of the Downtown Plaza alligators in the pool and the Alpha Phi Omega Engineering Fraternity’s entry of a “Miss Ima Hogg” (who turned out to be a 65-pound Duroc sow) in the annual bathing beauty pageant.   In 1975 a roof structure was built to enclose the pool.  The swimming pool was torn down in the mid-1990s when the Undergraduate Learning Center was constructed.

Abbie Weiser is the processing archivist at the C.L. Sonnichsen Special Collections Department of the UTEP Library. She earned a BA in history from George Washington University, a MSIS from the University of Texas at Austin, and a MA in history from UTEP. She is certified by the Academy of Certified Archivists.