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For your summer reading pleasure:

1916: A 16,000 gallon swimming pool was being built next to Lake Roland. July 19, 1917 letter from Water Engineer Walter Lee to the Baltimore County Commissioners asking that they police the area around Lake Roland as it has been reported that 10-15 persons bathe there every day. They reply that the city should get their own men to do it. June 9, 1923 letter requesting permission for the L’Hirondelle Club to be allowed to swim in Lake Roland. March 1924 newspaper clipping on drowning of boy, thirteen, in Lake Roland. The city investigation tried to place blame on the Pennsylvania Rail Road, who they say had some timbers floating about, which the boy fell off of as he used them as a raft. The PRR said it was a contractors fault, who used the timbers for some work they were doing. They also note that the boys were trespassing at the time of the incident. October 10, 1917 letter from Walter Lee to Mayor Preston notifying him of the intent of two ladies from Hampden, asking that a swimming pool be constructed on the property of the Hampden reservoir. They were also soliciting for his honor to pass a city ordinance in which they were to propose. Lee asks that if this happens, would the mayor turn the property over to Park Board? June 20, 1922 letter from Megraw to Christhilf Construction and other contractors, asking that they put in a modest bid (For charities sake) for the construction of a swimming pool at West Park (New name of Hampden Reservoir area) March 22, 1923 memo concerning the creation of a swimming pool between the upper and lower dams complete with toilet, shower facilities and a snack shack. June 20, 1924 letter from Armstrong to Siems concerning the swimming in the waters between the dams. He says it is prohibited. June 20, 1926 letter from the Baltimore Federation of Labor to Bernard Siems concerning the city using non-union workers to build the Druid Park Swimming Pool. On the bottom of this memo is a union logo: Specify UNION LABOR, have the job done Right!

Druid Park Swimming Pool

July 11, 1927 letter from Wolman to Wieghardt, “…when the pool was inspected by us a couple years ago we were informed that the Hampden Reservoir contained filtered water…the Hampden reservoir obtains all its water from the Jones Falls. In other words, the pool has been obtaining a completely untreated water from a relatively dangerous source, which has been abandoned for all municipal purposes for over 10 years…” July 14, 1927 letter refers to the Hampden Reservoir area as Roosevelt Park instead of West Park. June 24, 1930 memo from Rost to the Police Commissioner asking that the police stop the boys from climbing over the fence and swimming in the Montebello Plant II filtered water reservoir. 1932 Pools listed are: Druid Hill Colored Pool, Druid Hill White Pool, Gwynns Falls Park Pool, Carroll Park Wading Pool, Riverside Park Pool, Patterson Park Pool, and Clifton Park Pool.

Clifton Park Pool

June 10, 1933 police report on a ten year old who went swimming with three other youths and he drowned. The others left him and told no one. July 18, 1935 request from the National Guard for a shooting range at Loch Raven. Small does not want this. August 15, 1935 Brigadier General Washington Bowie writes Small back stating, “I note what you state in regard to the interference with the recreational purposes. If you had been with me last Sunday…when I saw three negroes in bathing suits swimming back and forth near where I wish to locate the range, or on a previous occasion when I found a half-dozen white boys swimming…I think you would find a rifle range more desirable than such recreational use…the portion outlined on your print is constantly used by both negroes and whites for swimming. The rifle range would at least make this unpopular.”  Bowie then goes over Small’s head to Crozier. Crozier agrees with Small. A few months later, the Mayor agrees with Small and Crozier. June 14, 1938 list of names of swimmers at Loch Raven. Officer Goetz is to arrest these people and take them to Towson jail if they are caught again swimming in the reservoir. June 14, 1945 memo from A. Bailey to L. Small concerning kids swimming in the waste lake, “The boys in the Northwood neighborhood…are using it as a swimming pool…groups up to about thirty…during the daylight and night hours, sometimes as late as 12pm. They have been warned a number of times by various employees of this division only to be cursed for their troubles…radio police have been summoned but made no attempt to stop this practice…I talked with two patrolmen while eight to ten boys were in the lake and asked that they talk to the boys…they promised they would but walked to the opposite side of the lake and blew their whistles instead. Yesterday, June 13, there were even a greater number of swimmers than any time previous, so I contacted these boys personally and told them that it was my orders to have them arrested…they paid little attention to what I said…placed twelve ‘No Trespassing’ signs up. By 9pm all signs but one were removed and destroyed. At 10pm, a great commotion was heard, a group of three boys were in swimming and one had gotten into trouble and was so far gone when they rescued him, that it was necessary to apply artificial respiration…police called and all three were taken to Sydenham Hospital. The police, at least the patrolmen, do not seem to want to cooperate with us and make no attempt to put a stop to the practice of swimming. (We) could drain the lake and keep it drained in the summer months…parents may then be willing to stop their kids, but judging from what I have seen of these people, I do not believe they have enough control over their children to prevent them from doing anything that they wish to do. Child delinquency for this section is bad, if not worse than the average for Baltimore City. August 23, 1945 memo from Bailey to Strohmeyer about unwanted visitors to the plant. Young men swimming in the waste lake, one almost drowned. Two, three year olds, alone, swimming in waste lake. One threw a fit and refused to leave. The police were called. Two teenagers running through Plant II and when told to leave, went and got their father who dared anyone to stop them from coming into the plant. An undated memorandum: “Yesterday afternoon … three young men found swimming in the Balancing Reservoir at Loch Raven in their birthday clothes.”

Gwynn’s Falls Pool – the overflow goes right into the stream, adding more pollution.

The largest of the pools back then.

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