Library digs up swimming pool history
By Ashley Samber Lynch
Last month, our friend Zane, from the City of Yuma Streets Department, came to us asking to see pictures of the first swimming pool in the town of Yuma. It sent us here from Yuma Public Library on a quest to find out more about that first pool and the “new” pool, as the current one is so affectionately referred to.
The original pool was located on the northeast corner of City Park, where the City of Yuma Parks & Recreation Department is currently transforming what used to be RV spaces into a permanent soccer field.
On Memorial Day of 1934, “hundreds of people from all over northeastern Colorado jammed every inch of space around the pool to witness a thrilling exhibition by diving and swimming luminaries from Colorado Teachers College, and almost as many more were unable to find stand room from which they could witness the aquatic events,” read the Yuma Pioneer in its May 31st edition for that year. Lowell Stilgebauer was hired as the pool’s first manager, with his wife assisting him for a combined monthly salary of $100 per month. They moved to Yuma for the swimming pool opportunity from Wauneta, Nebraska, all according to research we found in Yuma Pioneer newspapers from 1934.
“Single admission tickets, including a renting of a suit and towel, are 35 cents for adults and 35 cents for children,” reads the Pioneer in an article announcing the pool manager and head life guard to the community, where it also stated one would receive a 15 cent discount on admission if they provided a suit and towel of their own!
Thirty ( 30) years after the opening of the first-ever swimming pool opening, talk of a new swimming pool began in the fall of 1964. After discussion with the RJ1 School District about combining resources to build an indoor pool and the school board axing the idea, the new swimming pool was built and opened in May/June of 1967 in the current day location.
Included is a picture from Yuma Album of Action on the Plains which was published by the Yuma Historical Society and Pioneer Printing in 1976.