Jack’s Pool (6/18)

BY ELSIE MOREY / JUNE 2018

Margaret and Joseph Garrity had the vision to build the first public swimming pool, the Battlefield Pool and later called Jack’s Pool. Jack Lamont was the builder of the pool located along the Baltimore Pike. They operated this pool from 1930-1968.

In the 1936 Mercantile Appraisement for Adams County, we find the Retail Mercantile License was issued to Battlefield Swimming Pool with Jack Lamont as Proprietor Gettysburg, RD #1. This license allowed the pool to be open for business.

In the lost and found column of the Gettysburg Times for June 19, 1945, Notice: Person is known who stole a pocketbook and valuable watch from Jack’s Swimming Pool Sunday. If not returned to owner immediately, prosecution will follow. Another tidbit from Lost and Found column of the Gettysburg Times in 1953. Lost a man’s Benrus watch at Jack’s Swimming Pool on Friday. Reward to finder. Please return item to the Gettysburg Time’s Office.

As early as 1946, Adams County Red Cross had announced plans to hold a series of water safety programs. A course of six lessons for beginners and a special instruction course for swimmers was to be conducted. Those wishing to take this instruction should contact the local Red Cross office on Baltimore Street. Registration would close as soon as the quota is filled. At Jack’s Pool, six classes of beginners, a total of 82 children have undergone instruction with this course.

Jack’s Pool became the place to hold various types of events and parties. The 4-H Round Top Club met with Shirley Sterner presiding over the business session, and plans were made to go to Jack’s Pool for a picnic. A Pool Hop with music provided by The Mixed Emotions was held at Jacks Pool from 8 to 11 p.m. From the meeting of the Nurse Aides group, it was noted that 550 boys and girls received swimming instruction under the Red Cross Water Safety program at two pools which were the Gettysburg Country Club and Jack’s Pool. The cost of this program was $499.46.

In 1966, the State’s Department of Public Instruction was threatening the town’s use of nearby swimming pools as part of their Recreation programs. The Recreation Boards at their meeting decided “to fight to the end” to keep swimming as part of its program. The board also hoped it would revitalize interest for a borough swimming pool. Years ago, state inspectors had protested the bowling program because of the admission charge, and now the Recreation board was fearful that swimming would be another forbidden educational program. Both Jack’s Pool and a pool at Caledonia host these programs. The State Inspectors protested the use of both pools because they charge admission for all the swimmers at Jack’s Pool and at Caledonia. Curiously, it was noted the pool is open at no charge for the recreation programs.

In the end, The National Park Service purchased the 1.95-acre site of Jack’s Pool for $119,000 in 1999. The pool was filled in with dirt and covered over with grass.

Elsie Morey is the chairperson of Cumberland Township Historical Society Board of Directors.