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No Cows Using the Water

By Wethersfield Historical Society on September 5, 2011 1:38 PM

The pool officially opened on June 15, 1945.  

In his memoir "Wethersfield Summers" Dr. Tom Gworek recalled:

"We finally came to a narrow paved road where there had once been the pasture we wandered through.  At the end was a bathhouse and over the door the wording "Mill Woods Park". It was great. There was a sandy beach, no cows using the water as a bathroom and the water was almost clear.    
[
The clarity (or lack thereof) is a recurring theme in the history of Mill Woods Swimming Pool.]

"There were swimming lessons and lifeguards.


"That opening day they had swim races and I was proud to win some type of ribbon for my age group. I remember staring in amazement at an under water race. One of the older boys I knew dove in from the small dam at one side of the pool and never seemed to come up. I stared in awe as a small trail of bubbles marked his path under the water. I didn't think anyone could stay under the water that long and began to feel scared that something had happened to him. Just then his head shot up out of the water. We all cheered and he waved. He won a ribbon too."

T
hree days later Philip F. Roberge Jr. (13 years of age) - the son of Dr. and Mrs. Roberge of Dorchester Road - accidentally drowned when he reportedly stepped into a hole in the swimming area.  The deceased and a friend, Ronald Whaley, were walking in the water about twenty feet from shore.  Whaley reported the disappearance to the lifeguards and Superintendent Backman organized a human chain, which found Roberge's body.  Neither boy was able to swim.  Park officials later discounted the existence of a hole.  The attempted recovery was the first use of the inhalator (respirator) that had been newly acquired by the town of Rocky Hill.  The pool closed for the season on Labor Day with the possibility of weekend opening should the warm weather warrant it.
   
In the same month the town put out a Request for Bids to build a concrete dam separating the Upper Pond from the swimming area - bids due by 11;00 am standard time on 11/4/1945 with the work to be completed by 6/1/1946.  The barrier was to be circular with a six-foot spillway and fifty feet in length with a height of eight feet.  The cement mixing specifications called for mixing of one and one-quarter minutes at between fourteen and twenty revolutions per minute.
   
"During the progress of the work, should the timing device become broken or out of order, the contractor will be permitted to operate for the balance of the day without the timing device, provided he furnishes and hangs in a conspicuous place on the mixer an approved clock with conspicuous minute and second hands and provided further that each batch is mixed two minutes."

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