loading background

Grand Rapids in 1856

Scene of early Grand Rapids viewed from the...

loading media...
Richmond Park Pool

Richmond Park Pool

GRHC - November 25th, 2009

Grand Rapids Historical Commission and the Community Media Center present "Glance at the Past". Today, the squeaky clean history of the west side's first public pool.



George Welsh was a well-seasoned politician when he became city manager in the early days of the great depression. The city was looking for a project so that people on relief could work. The West Side had no swimming pool that was fit to use so they selected Richmond Park as the site for a new pool. Welsh planned to build the largest pool in the city. Such a grand project presented many obstacles, but he overcame each of them.

One day the city engineer asked Welsh, “Do you know how much water it will take to fill a pool that large?”

“No, I don’t, so what?”

“Well,” the engineer said “It will take 830,000 gallons of water.”

He reminded Welsh that the Parks Department would have to pay the Water Department for all that water, and they didn’t have that kind of money in their budget. Welsh thought for a minute and remembered that the Fire Department also paid the Water Department a standby charge of $30 for each fire hydrant. He told the engineer not to worry about it.

When it came time to fill the pool in the summer of 1931, Welsh arranged with the Fire Marshal to put on a fire drill at Richmond Park. The West Side engine house responded with a couple of pumpers, and they filled the pool from nearby fire hydrants.

The engineer had been absolutely right about the amount of water. It took almost two days to fill the pool, but the Parks Department never received a bill for the water.


Full Details

TitleRichmond Park Pool
KeywordsGlance at the Past, Richmond Park Pool, West Side, radio, WYCE, Grand Rapids, Historical Commission
Pubdate StringNovember 25th, 2009

Like Us on Facebook
site by GRCMC