FOLEY (WJON News) -- It's summer and for decades anyone who grew up in or near Foley that means spending time at the Municipal Pool.

Benton County Historical Society Executive Directory Mary Ostby says because the community isn't close to any natural bodies of water, back in the early 1900s the kids would beg their parents to take them four miles out of town to the St. Francis River on County Road 4.

So civic organizations began raising money and they opened the original pool on June 30th, 1939. It featured a sand and gravel bottom and had a sandy beach.

They had overflow water running in and out so that was pretty much self maintaining, because back then they didn't have a lot of filtration systems, so they were using sand for filtration.

The pool had three different depths, two diving boards, and a bathhouse with a shower and eight booths for changing.

Original Foley Pool, Benton County Historical Society
Original Foley Pool, Benton County Historical Society

In 1946 the polio scare shut the pool down. It did reopen in 1947 but by 1949 the first Foley pool was not being used anymore and for the next 10 years the Foley kids were bussed to St. Cloud for swimming lessons.

Support for a new pool started in the mid-1950s and eventually, approval from the voters got the city the funding it needed.

So they start the fundraising process and were raising money pretty decently but then they decided to do it a lot faster with a referendum and the voters pushed it through, they wanted that pool back.

The new pool was built in the same location as the original one. It included a main swimming area, wading pool, and bath house.

The total cost was $76,500.

The new pool opened on June 18th, 1960. That is the same pool that is being used in Foley today.

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The Foley Municipal Pool opens for the season on Wednesday.

Once a month Ostby comes on the News @ Noon show on WJON and talks about the forgotten history of Benton County.



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