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Summertime Fun - June 30, 2017

View of "The Big Dipper" located in Garden City, Kansas. At the time, the pool was 218 ft. x 337 ft., and located in Finnup Park. Date: Between 1920 and 1939 (Photo Courtesy of Kansas Historical Society/kansasmemory.org)

Q: "The Big Pool" in Garden City has a minimum of 14 lifeguards on duty each day because it's bigger than a football field and contains 2.6 million gallons of water! What was the original name developers gave to "The Big Pool" when it was first constructed in 1922?


 
A: "The Big Dipper"
 
The developers initially called Garden City's massive swimming pool "The Big Dipper." These days, it's simply called "The Big Pool." And it is. This concrete swimming hole is larger than a football field and holds 2.6 million gallons of water. In fact, the pool is large enough to accommodate water-skiing! At least it did for some promotional photographs taken in the 1980s.  
 
The pool was originally dug by hand in 1922 – by members of the community. The WPA (Works Progress Administration) added a bathhouse and a children’s wading pool during the Great Depression. Later, local farmers used horse-drawn soil-scrapers to further enlarge the pool.  
 
The Big Pool is located inside Garden City's Finnup Park. It has 50-meter Olympic swimming lanes and three water slides. Every day, a minimum of 14 lifeguards are on duty, as well as two slide assistants, three admission clerks, two concession workers and a pool manager.  
 
Advertised for years as "The World's Largest Free Outdoor Municipal Concrete Swimming Pool," the pool has been known to count up to 2,000 patrons during the summer months. But it's no longer free. In order to finance improvements made in recent years, an admission fee is now charged.

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