More About The Glendale Swimming Pool
Although I included a brief
article about the swimming pool in the Glendale
story which was put on the web-site in 2010, for history sake, I
the time has come for “the rest of the story” as I remember.
Built in the mid 1930s
for the community but referred to as “The Boy Scout’s Swimming Pool”,
the project was the brainstorm and one of the ongoing projects of Mr.
Lindsay Swofford in improving the environmental and recreational
facilities of the Glendale Community. Mr. Swofford was the
Bookkeeper/Paymaster at Glendale Mills at the time. He was a affable
gentlemen with the best interest of the village and its people at
heart. He did much toward its improvements in the early 1900s and was
instrumental in getting the Scouts into Glendale.
Luckily, the Civilian
Conservation Corp had been created in April 1933 along with the Work’s
Progress Administration in 1935. Known as the CC Camps and the WPA,
both had been organized to give jobs to the masses of unemployed
citizens resulting from the great depression and the nations financial
collapse of the early thirties. The first requirement of the programs
was that the applicant must be an American citizen. The CCs paid $30
per month along with food and clothing and a compulsory allotment of 22
to 25 dollars per month being sent to a dependent to aid in meeting
needs of the family. The WPA paid according to local pay scale with the
monthly pay ranging between 19 to 94 dollars per month (Wikipedia)
Their projects included
state and national infrastructures such as roads, bridges, parks,
environmental projects such as planting of trees, shrubs, soil
conservation and other like projects. It was according to this policy
that Mr. Swofford was able to engage them in the public works at
Glendale. Not only was the pool built but he was instrumental in
getting hundreds of trees and shrubs planted in the area, some soil
erosion stopped and a side walk built down Broadway in the village in
beautification and environmental projects.
The swimming pool, which I
visited a few times while under construction, was located inside a
large wooded pasture area which had been enclosed by the Mill Company
with wire fencing. For a small fee, residents of the village were
allowed to put their cattle in the pasture to stay and feed. The park
area which included the pool, picnic tables, barbeque pits and a tennis
court, was located in a large flat grassy meadow of the pasture. Fences
kept the cattle out of the park area. It was a beautiful place. Various
games were also played in the meadow.
Spartanburg/Glendale/Clifton Trolley tracks
separated the pasture from
the mill village. Walk through gates to the pasture and pool area were
located at the end of Bishop Hill, Carline and Clifton Street and I
suppose other locations. An entrance for automobiles and small trucks
with no gate was located directly behind the new Community cemetery. A
pipe bridge was built to prevent the cattle from getting out. The
bridge was about 10 feet wide with steel pipes laid parallel and spaced
some 4 or 5 inches apart to prevent the cattle from getting out. One
could walk across the bridge but was discouraged to do so lest their
foot slip between the pipes, seriously injuring their foot or
The pool was fed by
spring water which was very cold. A plunge into the pool could wipe out
the heat of a July or August day in about 2 seconds. One could go in
perspiring and come out with goose bumps. The pool which began with a
shallow area for children and wading, continued to deepen until it
reached the dam at which point it was about 10 to 12 feet deep. I have
no exact measurements of the pool but would guess it to have been about
50 to 60 feet wide and about 150 to 200 feet long.
A diving board was located at
the dam and a bath house called by many “the wash house”, was located
at the side. The pool had concrete walls with a gray sand/dirt, rocky
bottom. A concrete gang plant was located at each side of the dam which
allowed swimmers to walk up out of the water rather than trying to
climb out over the bank walls.
On the back side of the pool
was a sloped grassy bank on which swimmers would lie either on blankets
or the grass for sun bathing. On numerous occasions I saw the bank
lined with sunbathers. Of course many dove into the pool from the banks
on both sides of the pool. Below the dam was a small water wheel and
generator house in which power for lights and pumps was generated. I
believe the wheel was about 6 or 8 feet in diameter. This only lasted a
short while due to pilferage and vandalism.
It was possible for one to
drive a car down into the upper end of the meadow if one so desired but
a large parking area was provided on the hill above. A long set of
concrete/rock steps were built up the hill side from the meadow to the
parking area. Though quite a large number of men were employed during
the construction, Elmer Willis, a local man who had joined the CC Camp,
built the steps and had much to do in building the park and it’s
amenities. Incidentally, he served as Scout Master of the local Scout
Troop for many years. It was this writers privilege to serve as his
assistant in the late 40s and early 50s.
Though the pool was built for
local residents, people from nearby areas frequented the park. I
remember large crowds gathering at the pool on warm summer sunny days.
A day was set aside especially for the ladies and girls. The pool was
used by the Glendale Pentecostal Holiness Church as a Baptismal pool.
During the hours of their service all swimming was prohibited.
Built at a time when
the effects of the depression was still lingering and leisure was
abundant, the pool was a popular place to spend time, relax and swim
away one’s troubles. Some carrying their picnic baskets, spent most of
the day in the area. After a few years when more jobs became available
and more schooling was taking place, leisure time of youth and adults
alike became more scarce, interest in and attention to the pool began
to wan. Industry beginning to work three shifts, labor unrest, the
threats of liabilities, pilferage and vandalism becoming rampant, the
mill and it’s properties changing management and the war hovering over
the nation, were all contributing factors to the closure of the pool in
the late 1940s. Today the park area is a jungle of scrubs, trees,
vines, crumbling walls, broken steps, a broken dam and a place of fond
We are grateful to
Gerald and Kenneth Quinn for pictures which they made recently of the
area. Gerald and Kenneth are natives of Glendale and were the sons of
the late Mr. Will and Mrs. Alice Quinn. Mr. Quinn was mill and village
Policeman for many years. Both worked with this writer at Glendale
Mills while they were still in school. (Click for
the pictures and additional information about the pool).
The sad note of the swimming
pool story is that unfortunately, Mr. Swofford who had done so much for
the community and was the integrator of building the pool, was severely
injured in the late thirties. Textile union organization was at full
throttle. Some union activists seeking to unionize Glendale Mills
caught Mr. Swofford outside his office, picked him up, manhandled him
and if I remember correctly, they then dropped him on his back
seriously injuring him. He retired and died at the age of 54 some 3 or
4 years thereafter. Unable to locate any of his family relatives, I
have been unable to establish if those injuries contributed to his
death but I rather suspect that they did, at least in some way.
Mr. Lindsay Swofford died in
the St. Luke’s Hospital in Tryon, N. C. His obituary published in the
Spartanburg Herald and Journal on July 22, 1941 stated that he had
served as Bookkeeper/Paymaster at Glendale Mills, a Division of D. E.
Converse Co, for 17 years. He was survived by his wife, Mrs. Ola Mills
Swofford; three sons, George, Robert and Donald Swofford, all of Tryon;
his father, McK Swofford of Spruce Pine, N. C.; the following sisters
and brothers, Mrs. M. E. Caldwell, Campobello, S. C., Mrs. Fate
Chapman, Maryville, Tenn., Mrs. Jess Worley, Spruce Pine, Mrs. Clarence
Stevens, Compton, Calif., Mrs. J. B. Costelloe, Greenville, S. C., Mrs.
Alge Johnson, Chesnee, S. C., Ira Swofford, Knoxville, Tenn., Fate
Swofford and Lucius Swofford, of Spruce Pine, and J. W. Swofford,
Chesnee, S. C.
Funeral services were
held at Floyd’s Mortuary in Spartanburg, S. C. with interment following
in the Greenlawn Memorial Gardens. Pallbearers were; R. F. Bagwell, H.
B. White, Deck Murray, W.F. Rogers, R. B. Fuller and C. A. Thrasher.
Mr. Swofford had many friends in Glendale who were deeply saddened by
his injury and death.
My appreciation to George
Hunter for supplying the pictures of him and Elmond Sams in the pool in
This web site has been started as a
public service to share the story of Glendale. The web master and
person to contact about putting information on the web site is Mary
McKinney Teaster. Contact her at:
or by telephone at (843) 873-8117. See
more information about Mary and her Glendale connection at Mary McKinney Teaster.