Standard Theatre Supports Opening of Athena's New Public Swimming Pool

Theaters can play important roles in towns big and small, like by creating a sense of community. Other activities coming to a town aren’t always a form of competition, instead they may work together. In the small town of Athena, plans for construction of a new swimming pool in City Park were set in February of 1928. A majority of the funds and labor needed for construction were donated by various people and business, one of those being the Standard Theatre (1). The Standard Theatre put on benefit shows to raise money for the new pool, one being its midweek special showing a nine reel novelty program with shows like “40,000 Miles with Linberg” and the “Secrets of the Sea”(2).

The swimming pool’s grand opening took place on Sunday at 3 o’clock in the afternoon on April 17th and had quite the advertisement plan to draw in a big crowd. Three experts from Walla Walla were set to put on an exhibition of intricate swimming and diving stunts. Additionally, swimming races with prizes for the winners would be held for the children (3). The swimming pool was said to be one of the best equipped in the area with its updated appliances. The pool had showers, men and womens dressing rooms, toadstools, diving tower, exit ladders, and more. The pool was 40x75 feet, and starts at 9 inches in depth for a kiddie area, to 9 feet at its deepest. Daily entry prices are 15 cents for children, and 25 cents for adults. You could also buy season tickets for 5 dollars for adults and 2 dollars for children. There were even bathing suit rentals for 10 cents (4).

The opening of this swimming pool seemed to do be very popular, all the postings about it that I found made the front page of the Athena Press newspaper. In just about a months time after its opening, the pools sales grossed a total of $646.30, and manager C. L. McFadden was greatly appreciative of all the help they received to have such a successful start (5). The pool continued to remain open during the summer, warmer season. They even began to hold swim lessons at the pool, in August the Umatilla county Red Cross sponsored free lessons over a 3 day period (6). The following year in 1929 the pool held its opening season beginning June and made further improvements to the site like with fresh lawn grass, and are planning construction on a new road leading to the pool (7).

Swimming Pool, Athena, Oregon, July 1941. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.
Swimming Pool, Athena, Oregon, July 1941. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.




Works Cited

(1) "Legion Post for Swimming Pool," The Athena Press, February 17, 1928: 1. Historic Oregon Newspapers. 

(2) "Clara Bow in "It" At Standard Theatre," The Athena Press, April 20, 1928: 3. Historic Oregon Newspapers. 

(3) "Opening of Swimming Pool to Public Next Sunday Afternoon," The Athena Press, June 15, 1928: 1. Historic Oregon Newspapers. 

(4) "Swimming Pool Opens Sunday," The Athena Press, June 8, 1928: 1. Historic Oregon Newspapers. 

(5) "Swimming Pool is a Paying Venture," The Athena Press, July 20, 1928: 1. Historic Oregon Newspapers. 

(6) "Free Swimming Instructions," The Athena Press, August 3, 1928: 1. Historic Oregon Newspapers. 

(7) "The American Legion Swimming Pool Opens For the Season Sunday," The Athena Press, May 31, 1929: 1. Historic Oregon Newspapers.