Tarboro’s “Cool Pool”

An image believed to be taken at the "Cool Pool" in 1939

An image believed to be taken at the “Cool Pool” in 1939

On July 9, 1933, the Tarboro Town Council approved the purchase of a refrigeration unit for the town’s municipal pool. The council’s action was in response to the unseasonably hot summer that year in eastern North Carolina. The town had a just recently put in an Olympic-sized pool for residents to enjoy, but the water in the pool was kept too warm by the weather and all the activity of swimmers.

The council asked Frick and Company of Waynesboro, Pa., to design and install a refrigerating unit in the pool. The company did so, and by mid-August the device was installed at a cost of nearly $3,000. Some of that money may have come from the federal government as part of Depression-era economic development programs.

The pool—nicknamed the “Cool Pool”—drew large crowds of swimmers and played host to a number of state and regional meets during the 1930s and 40s. A national meet was held there in 1943, with Gov. J. Melville Broughton as the honored guest.

By the 1970s, the pool was closed. It is believed to be the first and only refrigerated pool in the nation.

See more images believed to be of the “Cool Pool” from the State Archives.

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