Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 10: BUILT ENVIRONMENT (Physical Plant)

Swimming Pool, 1923 – 2013
Bath House, 1979 – present

Swimming Pool and Bath House. View of pool painted in blue.

Swimming Pool and Bath House. View of newly painted pool, c. 1979. [swimming_pool_451.jpg]

The Swimming Pool was built in 1923 and was used steadily in the programs of the boarding school. In 1938 it was briefly closed in the summer to give it a remodel and again in 1960s when it was given an even more extensive remodel.

The work on the pool in the 1960s was at the request of the State Department of Health, including a new filtration system that brought the pool into state compliance. The original concrete pool was fed by water from the cool Limestone Creek that runs from the School’s reservoir. The water was of excellent quality and exceptionally cold in temperature. It was ironic that the “filtering” of the water with a full filtration system was before the full filtration of the reservoir water for the campus.

The three-door Bath House (Change House) was added to the pool area in 1979 and is constructed of local stone. It is a one-story rectangular structure with a gabled roof. Along with the construction of the Bath House, the pool was coated with an aqua paint in its interior and a small triangular wading pool was added next to the larger pool. During the period of the 1960s until the 1990s the pool was heavily used by the Pine Mountain community and was a welcome relief from summer heat.

The construction of the pool was at the request of students who wanted the pool as part of their recreation offerings and they actively participated in raising and contributing money for the construction of the pool. The students saved money by eating selected meals or cocoa and rice once a week, in order to contribute toward the purchase of materials to build the pool. The pool allowed many students to become swimmers and provided them with skills that would otherwise have been unattainable. Few local creeks had deep and clean holes of water that could provide safe opportunities for learning how to swim.

The pool was also a location for rituals associated with celebration. It served as a favorite “dunking” place for new grooms after they were just married. It also led to gold medals in the Senior Olympics for one boarding school student (Lela Christian) who won national recognition for her high diving skills while in her late 70s.

It was with considerable reluctance that the School closed the pool in the 1990s after some seven decades of use. The cost of upkeep, new state regulations, and insurance costs became too great for the limited budget of the School.

For the better part of the 1990s and 2000s the pool sat empty and slowly became an eyesore in the bucolic landscape. Attempts to integrate it into the Environmental Education programs never were realized. Finally, in the summer of 2013 the pool was filled with dirt and the area graded for construction. A possible community pavilion or a recreation and meeting area has been suggested.

The “burial” of the pool was without ceremony or fanfare, but it will long remain in the memory of any who jumped into its cool and refreshing waters, who struggled with their first attempts to swim, who learned to hold their breath under water, or sprung fearlessly from the diving boards. Most of all, the laughter and squeals of delight of children echoing off the mountains are now missed in the heat of summer.




Swimming Pool & Bath House

Alt. Title

Pool ; Change House ;




Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY

Alt. Creator

Ann Angel Eberhardt ; Helen Hayes Wykle ;

Subject Keyword

Swimming Pool ; Bath House ; Change House ; Pine Mountain Settlement School ; remodeling ; State Department of Health ; filtration systems ; concrete surrounds ; Limestone Creek water ; reservoir ; local stone ; aqua paint ; wading pools ; community ; recreation ; money contributions ; local creeks ; learning to swim ; rituals ; celebration ; dunkings ; gold medals ; Senior Olympics ; students ; Lela Christian ; diving skills ; state regulations ; insurance costs ; Environmental Education ; community pavilion ; diving boards ; Pine Mountain, KY ; Harlan County, KY ;

Subject LCSH

Swimming Pool & Bath House — Pine Mountain Settlement School (Pine Mountain, Ky.) — History.
Architecture — Pine Mountain Settlement School.
Pine Mountain Settlement School (Pine Mountain, Ky.) — History.
Harlan County (Ky.) — History.
Historic Buildings — Kentucky — Appalachia.
Rural schools — Kentucky — History.
Schools — Appalachian Region, Southern.




Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY




Collections ; text ; image ;


Original and copies of JPG images, documents, and correspondence in file folders in filing cabinet


Series 10: Built Environment (Physical Plant)




Is related to: Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections, Series 10: Built Environment (Physical Plant) ; Kentucky Virtual Library collections <http://www.kyvl.org/> [searchable]
Berea College Southern Appalachian Archives <http://www.berea.edu/library/Special/saarchives.html>
Transylvania College Archives <http://www.transy.edu/libspcoll.html>
Univ. of KY Appalachian Archives <http://libraries.uky.edu/libpage.php?lweb_id=84&llib_id=13>
National Historic Landmarks Database <http://tps.cr.nps.gov/nhl/detail.cfm?ResourceId=1756&ResourceType=District>

Coverage Temporal

Swimming Pool 1923 – 2013 ; Bath House 1979 – present ;

Coverage Spatial

Pine Mountain, KY ; Harlan County, KY ;


Any display, publication, or public use must credit the Pine Mountain Settlement School. Copyright retained by the creators of certain items in the collection, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.




Core documents, correspondence, writings, and administrative papers about Swimming Pool & Bath House ; clippings, photographs, books about Swimming Pool & Bath House;


Swimming Pool constructed 1923 ; Bath House constructed 1979 ;


Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers, Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY

Processed By

Helen Hayes Wykle ; Ann Angel Eberhardt ;

Last Updated

2013-09-30 hw ; 2014-05-20 aae ;



Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY. Archival material.