Parks & Facilities

Swimming Pools History

San Antonio's rivers and creeks were the local swimming holes until 1915 when Parks Commissioner Ray Lambert built the city's first public swimming pool. Lambert's approach was simple - he scooped mud from the river bottom in Brackenridge Park, laid gravel and called it a "swimming beach."

Pool construction techniques had progressed by 1922 when the lake bed at San Pedro Springs Park was cemented to form a large spring-fed pool. Under Mayor John W. Tobin's administration (1923-25), Lambert modernized the Brackenridge Park pool and built six other facilities throughout the City. At Woodlawn Lake, an artesian well was drilled to fill the new pool built with stone from a demolished downtown hotel. Other pools were constructed at the Crockett Street playground and at Roosevelt and Cassiano Parks.

The Depression and World War II slowed construction, the Brackenridge pool closed, the San Pedro Park pool and others were rebuilt to modern standards and new pools were built to serve the growing population.

In more recent years, the city was on the cutting edge with one of the first facilities to combine a swimming pool and skate bowl when a skate/pool facility opened at Lady Bird Johnson Park in 2004. The swimming pool was a 25-meter Junior Olympic pool with five swim lanes, two zero-depth entry or beach areas with multiple spray jets that shoot water into the air. At its deepest point it is four and a half feet deep.

The city also worked with neighborhood associations to take over pools that they could no longer operate. New Territories Recreation Complex with its pool opened as a city facility in 1996.

Spring Time pool, which serves Babcock North and the children who attend Boone Elementary School, opened under the city's direction in 2007. Heritage pool opened under Parks and Recreation Department management in 2011 after the Heritage Neighborhood Association donated 2.3 acres to the City in 2008 for a park, including an existing swimming pool. The city renovated the pool and existing bath house, creating a zero-entry swimming pool with shade structures.

Children enjoying the swimming pools
Sunday, April 18, 2021