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Memories of York County’s swimming pools

Jill Schaffner shared this photo from the former Meadowbrook Swim Club in Saginaw, run by her father and grandfather from 1952 to 1981.
Jill Schaffner shared this photo from the former Meadowbrook Swim Club in Saginaw, run by her father and grandfather from 1952 to 1981.

Insert your favorite appropriately dumb “It’s hot” joke here.

In honor of the obvious topic of the weather, I thought today I’d share some of the many memories I’ve received about swimming pools in York County’s past.

Meadowbrook Swim Club

We talked a bit about the Meadowbrook Swim Club in the Saginaw area of northeastern York County in a post last summer. After reading that, Barbara Geesey wrote, “Joan, I recently read your note about Meadowbrook Pool. I have many fond memories of the pool as my family belonged there the entire time it was open, my mother gave swim lessons there a few years and we spent many summer days picnicking and playing in the huge field and stream. Many a water skipper was caught by cousins and family friends and we always had a watermelon cooling in the creek. As my cousins and siblings grew older and had families of our own we also became members and still talk about our wonderful memories there. We were sorry to see it close, there really needs to be more places in York area that provide family enjoyment at an affordable price.”

I also heard from Jane Crowder, who wrote, “I remember Meadowbrook Swim Club very well. It was a fun place in the ’60s, ’70s and later and was very well managed by Odessa Bangak. She ran a very tight ship and kids did not rough house in the pool or run on the wet walks. Odessa tried to keep everyone safe. We lived in Saginaw at the top of the playground hill. I drove my daughter, Kate, and my older son, George, to the pool many times. It was too far to walk there from our hillside home. My daughter loved Meadowbrook, but I disliked the extremely cold water. But, I did get in and swim. That was the coldest water I’ve ever experienced. What a beautiful area with large shade trees and picnic tables where a family could enjoy an outdoor picnic supper. I also remember the juke box playing songs like “The Days of Wine and Roses!” The music floated way up the hills to my home. I think the juke box was silenced in the later years. Too bad.”

Reader Jill Schaffner, who had previously shared photos of the Meadowbrook Swim Club (one of which you can see above today), said there are many posts of memories of Meadowbrook in the Facebook group titled “I grew up in Manchester/Mount Wolf and surrounding areas -Pennsylvania.”

From Cheryl Snyder Huber, I heard, “My family belonged to Meadowbrook Pool for many years, probably starting in the ’50s. I remember a small baby pool for very young children and the larger pool for everyone else. The large pool ranged from about 2 1/2 feet deep at one end to 6 feet deep at the other. There was a juke box with a small dance area, a stream with trees and lots of picnic tables and a large area for various ball games. There was also a refreshment stand where my favorite was frozen Zero bars. My brother, sister and I all took swimming lessons at Meadowbrook. The water was quite cold, especially in June. We were told it was piped in from the nearby quarry.”

And finally on the topic of this pool (at least for now!), I received a note from Eileen Snyder, who wrote, “I caught an article about the Meadowbrook Swim Club and that started bringing back childhood memories. My family and my aunt and uncle and cousins all belonged to this swim club. We would go up every weekend and go swimming. We would pack our lunch and stay the whole day. I remember my parents and my aunt and uncle sat at a picnic table and played cards while us kids went swimming. The adults would eventually get in the pool with us! There was a tire swing that we used to play on. I also remember they had frozen Milky Ways at the snack bar and we would always get one. It was such a clean facility and we always had so much fun. What good memories I had as a child at Meadowbrook Swim Club!”

Springwood Pool

At the same time that I last wrote about the Meadowbrook Swim Club, I also shared memories of the Springwood Pool.

Of that location, Mary Brandt wrote, “In regard to Springwood Park and Pool… I spent my childhood living in Yoe. I have many fond memories of walking the railroad tracks with mom, my sister and friends every Sunday with our picnic basket. We swam in the pool and could get additional food and drinks at the food stand that was also a part of the pool. We loved playing on the swings. What a happy time of my life.”

And Jim Botterbusch of East Manchester Township wrote, “About Springwood swimming pool… I was life guard for four years. … It was all cement with slanted sides. It went down from about one foot to about 7 foot. The movie screen was between the house and the dance hall; on the hill we had movies Sunday nights. Once in awhile we had square dances Saturday nights with a live western band. We cleaned the pool every Wednesday night. We dammed the creek along the side of the pool and pumped water from it. It took all night to fill the pool. That made the water cold for the first couple days. It went through a filter system. Later on we dug a well to fill it. We had to watch it, because when it rained hard in Delta it would cloud the water and we would have to turn the pump off.

Finally, I heard from Charlotte Sheffer Baker, a member of the Class of 1941 at York High, who wrote, “My friend Rae and I visited Springwood Swimming Pool every day of sunshine during our summer high school days at William Penn. Our place of blanket was next to the Harry Hackburger family. The pool at that time (1930s) was owned and operated by the Ruhl family. Mr. Ruhl was a druggist in York at the time (and had) 2 sons, Henry and Joseph. Yes there was train transportation by then. Later, it was owned by Greenewalt who lived in the house across from the pool. We also attended dances in a building across from the pool. Ah! For the Springwood pool days!”

To read even more about the Springwood Pool, consider these posts:

March 5, 2013: Ask Joan: Hollander’s, Springwood Pool and pizza (includes a few Springwood Pool photos)

April 19, 2013: More thoughts on Camp Betty Washington Road (includes a few details about Springwood Pool in some reader comments)

Pigeon Hills swimming

An Ask Joan question last fall brought up the topic of a swimming spot in the Pigeon Hills area outside Spring Grove. On this topic, I heard several different ideas.

One commenter who didn’t give a name said, “When I was a child my mother’s cousin lived on the farm across the road from the swimming pool. The only name I can remember was Altland’s Ranch.”

From Monica Barrett, I heard, “Hershey Heights Swimming Pool was the name of the swimming pool in the Pigeon Hills. Good memories from the 50s and 60s.”

And later, Monna Hormel wrote, “The swimming hole was a pond in Pigeon Hills Park that was an old ore hole. I found this postcard by searching ‘Pigeon Hills Park’ on the Internet. I enjoy your column. I went there as a child. Don’t know if it is still accessible, but there is a Pigeon Hills Park Road off of Beaver Creek Road off of Route 194 going out of Hanover.”

So I’m not sure if we can shed any specific light on the original question asked by Jerri Bitner, but there are some leads, at least!

Finally on pools, I heard from Bill Unger of Shrewsbury. He also read the previous notes about pools and says, “Yes, I remember when York was full of pools. I think you missed one. It was way out west of York. It was on Wolf’s Church Road west of 616 and south of old Route 30. Does anyone remember its name? I don’t.”

Any ideas on that one for Bill? Obviously in closer is where the Lincolnway Pool is now, but this would be further west, and I’m drawing a blank!

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