Swimming Pool

In 1910 John,Jr.(12), Eugene(10) and Adolph(8)were living in the Eckerle homestead. Fran(10) and Herb(8) Trefzger were living in the Berger homestead. John Norbert(12) and Adolph(6) Berger would often come to visit in the summer time.

The most fun place for the boys to play was in the creek running through the property.

According to Uncle Fran, “We all liked to swim. We decided to dam up our creek. We chose a spot where the water was fairly deep, perhaps three feet, and where the surrounding walls were of solid limestone rock. Because it was a natural spot it was not too difficult to dam up the creek and build ourselves a swimming hole. We dived off a fallen tree close by. Of course we had to put up with crawdads and a few garter snakes, but they did not spoil our fun. During this same period we developed a bad habit (which I think all country kids have for a while) of stealing birds' eggs from their nests. If someone were to ask me now why I did it, I would have to say that the colors of the eggs fascinated me. Also, at the time, I was a born collector. Old Nonnie was dead, so we used her old house as a kind of clubhouse. In one part I had several old shelves on which I displayed my beautiful birds' eggs, many colors and sizes. Now it happened that both of the above pastimes - swimming in the creek and stealing birds' eggs - made Uncle John Eckerle very angry. He put a stop to both. As to the latter, be simply said, "If you boys don't quit that I will whip you good!" We stopped. As for the former, he had a great idea - to put in a concrete pool on the side of the hill not too far from the lot line. It was built in 1911, I think. The pool of solid heavy poured concrete was 40 feet long and l6 fet wide. At its deepest point it was about 4 1/2 feet. Uncle John reasoned that if the water was not too deep no one would drown in the pool. It is now the year 1974 and the pool is still used, and no one has drowned in it. There were iron rails around it on all four sides except at the steps where one entered. It had overflow drains as well, which were later removed so that the water would be deeper. Evidently Uncle John did not know about young peoples' love for diving because he furnished no diving board, nor deep area for that sport. As soon as the pool was finished all the Hill people and their friends participated. The older folks put on their swimming togs in the house, but the kids, in the beginning, slipped into an old ‘john’ or ‘Chic Sales’, with seat removed. About twenty feet from the stairs into the pool was a very small "cabana" with space for only one person to dress or undress at a time. Up from the pool and between the pool and the lot line in those days the Bergers had a chicken-run with coops and an incubator (up near the cherry tree at the high point). The smell of the chickens and the need for outside dressing rooms lead to the conversion of the coop and incubator into a dressing room, on the left for the women, and on the right, for the men. (The old ‘john’ was burned down.) These new dressing rooms were built about 1913, I think.”

The quote above is from the Autobiography of Franz Trefzger, 1900 to 1914.

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