York Town Square

Part of the USAToday Network

About York’s Farquhar pool’s water: ‘He would demonstrate the safeness by drinking a cup’

This undated postcard shows Farquhar Park Pool, replaced in recent years by the Graham Aquatic, early in its years of operation. The pool opened in 1922. (See additional photos below.) Background posts:Cartoonist made York newspaper owner’s views an art form and York Town Square reader: ‘I never knew about the White Rose Amusement Park’ and Reader searching for Boys Club Pool photo.

Dan Meckley, like many York Town Square readers, is interested in the old Farquhar Park Pool and the White Rose Amusement Park. (See comments, for example, under: Farquhar Park pool: ‘Good grief, how long has that pool been here?’)
“Here is my contribution to the genre,” he wrote.
Before going on active duty in the Navy, he served as head lifeguard at the old pool in 1943.
He said it was one of the largest in Pennsylvania, the last vestige of the White Rose Amusement Park. The park closed a decade earlier.

The Farquhar Park pool, sans filter system, undergoes its twice-a-month cleanings. The residents of Newberry Street had little water pressure in the period when it was refilled, Meckley wrote.
Here are Dan’s observations:

“York Councilman Herb Anderson, an acquaintance of my father, hired me. I hired the lifeguards. Herb’s daughter sold the entrance tickets.
“Unfortunately the pool did not have a filter system so every two weeks we drained the pool, and I had a crew of boys to scrub the bottom and sides. They did it for free passes to the pool.
“The city chemist, Mr. Gemmill, checked the pool frequently and added the required chemicals. By the end of two weeks, the water was rather murky. He would demonstrate the safeness by drinking a cup.
“1943 was the first year for rubber bathing suits for women. They were single ply and prone to splitting. The lifeguards were eager to rush bath towels to the split victims.
“Gasoline rationing made the pool very popular because it was relatively easy to access. While there was no probation, I do not remember any black people using the pool.”

Meckley’s last observation came after a post on the city’s closing of the pool rather than letting blacks swim there.

Ellie Oberdick, who later became Dan Meckley’s wife, stands near the pool in 1943.