After many previews, today was finally the day to party:
Colman Pool on the shore at Lincoln Park is now three-quarters of a century old. Opening day was July 4th, 1941. Among those who gathered to celebrate the milestone, members of the Sears family, with a third-generation pool operator now on board:
The story is told in detail by Judy Pickens in the newest Fauntleroy Community Association newsletter: Mark Sears is retiring from 43 years at Colman Pool, most of them in the operator/grounds caretaker role previously held by his dad Norm Sears. And his successor is daughter Maya Sears:
She has already been with Seattle Parks for a decade, including as the manager of its wading-pool system (which includes a pool just a short stroll uphill from Colman). This morning’s party celebrated the pool’s present and future, as well as its past, in many ways. More of its history was presented by speakers including Jean Carroll, one of the first two people to swim in Colman Pool, practicing on July 3rd, 1941, to be part of the celebration the next day:
Last weekend, we featured Southwest Seattle Historical Society executive director Clay Eals‘s video of her memories.
Also today, a diving demonstration:
A demonstration of “fancy diving” also was part of the 1941 opening celebration, according to a clipping in this KUOW story; another 1941 participant listed in the clipping was Gary Gaffner, that year’s “King Neptune” (and a descendant of a member of the Denny Party), who spoke today as well:
Back in the water, members of the lifeguard staff demonstrated the rescue skills they all have but hope never to have to use:
A lifelong aquatics professional who knows those skills well, Coy Jones, was today’s emcee:
Two “mermaids,” Essie and Cyanea, took a turn performing:
At noon, the party made way for the first swim session of the day, after former lifeguards and current and former pool staffers shared their memories open-microphone style.
There’s so much more to the history of Colman Pool – you can read a bit in Lori Hinton‘s West Seattle 101 essay, and more in HistoryLink.org‘s page about Kenneth Colman, who presented the pool to the city in memory of his father Laurence Colman. Colman Pool is only open part of the year, for obvious reasons – its preseason weekends start before Memorial Day, and by late June it’s operating 7 days a week, until Labor Day, which will be followed by one post-season weekend this year, according to the official brochure. If you’ve never been … don’t miss it.