Monday, February 5, 2024
Construction Changes Familiar Space
ABOVE: (Top) Porter Pool is emptied for the final time, August 1998. | photo by EMILY CAMPBELL | (Lower) The Mill Apartments, with parking on the ground level, rise on the former Porter Pool location, Feb. 3, 2024. The former pool bathhouse remains, now used as offices for Shelby County Tourism. | photo by KRISTIAAN RAWLINGS
Over 25 years after the closing of Porter Pool, the former pool site will finally be home to more than just a vacant field. Construction continues to progress at The Mill apartment complex, which will incorporate the former Coca-Cola bottling building next door. The old pool bathhouse will continue to be used by the Shelby County Tourism Bureau. Although the property use continues to evolve, memories of Porter Pool remain.
Former employees of the pool gathered Saturday, Aug. 8, 1998, to see the pool’s final weekend. It marked the end of an era for those who served as lifeguards at the pool.
Emily (McKeand) Campbell has numerous memories from her years at Porter Pool. She started checking baskets in and out at the age of 13 and started at 14 as a junior lifeguard. She remained from 1957 to 1967, and then continued teaching swimming lessons there until 1989.
“In the ‘50s and ‘60s, there were no summer activities for high schoolers,” Campbell said. “Some worked in the parks, others worked on farms, mowed grass and some worked in local restaurants.” And athletics for girls didn’t exist. “The only things to do were cruise the three drive-in restaurants, go to the Skyline movies or the theater in town, hang out at the county fair, play tennis or golf, et cetera,” she said.
She found herself instead enjoying long days at Porter Pool, where co-workers became family.
“When you spend seven days a week and 11 hours a day together, they are your family for the summer,” she said. “We played jokes on one another constantly.”
One year, the guy lifeguards put the girls’ bathing suits in the freezer. “Our work clothes had to be thawed out,” Campbell recalls.
She also remembers lessons learned from long-time manager Anna Catherine Hotopp.
“She had a very structured atmosphere for pool responsibilities,” Campbell said. “I learned that no one is exempt from cleaning toilets, retrieving undesirable waste from the pool, cleaning the sides of the pool with harsh chemicals, diving to clean the drains in the deep end of the pool, hosing off the decks or climbing down into the pits to change chlorine tanks.”
While her friends thought she was sitting around getting a tan, Campbell was developing a life philosophy. “All jobs are important; I learned to respect every single position in a place of business.”
Shirley Oeffinger became manager in 1983 and retired in 1994. But she returned for the summer of 1998, co-managing the pool with Andy Johnson, to oversee one final summer as the new Meridian Park Aquatic Center was constructed.
Porter Pool History
1920s: Community members expressed a need for a pool to prevent kids from swimming in dangerous sections of area rivers.
1929: American Legion offers to host a fundraiser for a pool.
August 1929: Mr. and Mrs. Enos Porter offer money to build an outdoor pool in memory of their son, William.
January 1930: The heirs of William Teal offer the site north of the Teal home for the pool.
March 1930: A grain elevator where John Walker built the first mill in town was destroyed by fire. The Porters bought the ground for the city, enlarging the Teal site.
July 4, 1930: William A. Porter Memorial Swimming Pool was dedicated. John Johnson was first manager.
1955: Pool management was turned over from the American Legion to the Shelbyville Parks and Recreation Department.
1958: The Learn to Swim program began, under the direction of Anna Catherine Hotopp.
1977: The showers in the pool bathhouse were renovated and painted.
1983: The sundeck expansion program and fencing projects were completed.
1988: A water slide was purchased.
1992: The Shelbyville Common Council opted not to build another pool on the Porter site.
1997: Shelbyville Central Schools donated eight acres on S. Meridian St. to the Parks Department for a new pool.
The following photos of former staff, all provided by Emily Campbell, were taken during a 1998 reunion on the day before Porter Pool closed for the final time.
ABOVE: Connie (Williams) Browning, Kim (Williams) Griffey and Sharon (Hotopp) Tucker, all former Porter Pool lifeguards. Sharon is the daughter of long-time manager Anna Catherine Hotopp.
ABOVE: Bill Munger, Cydney (Finkel) Fox and Jeff Munger, all former lifeguards.
ABOVE: Randy Parker and Susie Nentrup, former lifeguards.
ABOVE: Diane (Keith) Scales and Emily (McKeand) Campbell, former lifeguards.
ABOVE: Tim Krebs, Ernie Engle and Gerald Mohr, former lifeguards.
ABOVE: Fred Eaton, former lifeguard.
ABOVE: Former manager Bud Munger with his wife, Harriett.
Addison Times reporter Anna Tungate is back, covering Shelby County Commissioners and more. Look for coverage in tomorrow’s edition.
INTERNATIONAL NEWS: Ecologists found that England has so many hedgerows that if they were lined up, they would stretch around the globe 10 times. (Morning Brew)
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This Day in Shelby County History
2014: Mayor Tom DeBaun expressed his opposition to Gov. Mike Pence’s personal property tax elimination proposal to the Republican-led common council. “This is not a political commentary, fellas, this is what it takes to run a community,” DeBaun said.
2004: Several local residents received letters from the “El Gordo Spanish Sweepstake Lottery Company” promising winnings of $615,000. According to the letter, a mixup regarding some numbers and names chosen meant the recipient needed only to supply a bank routing number to claim the award. Recipients were to “keep this award from public notice” until “the claim has been processed and money remitted into your account.” Local police reminded residents, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”
1994: Haggling continued over installing an elevator in City Hall, which needed one to be in compliance with ADA laws. Some offices were being moved to make room for the elevator, but the cost estimates continued to increase. Picks and shovels would be needed to remove debris to build the elevator shaft.
Although some locals had encouraged Shelbyville Mayor Bob Williams, a Democrat, to run for Congress, for the seat being vacated by Rep. Phil Sharp, Williams declined. “I’ve got enough problems to be concerned about here,” he told The Shelbyville News, laughing. When caught by the reporter, Williams was on his way to a speech given by the state chairman for the Republican Party. Shelby County Republican Chairman Dick Fero had invited him, and Williams accepted.
1984: A tax break program designed to entice industry to Shelbyville was approved by the common council. The program would take advantage of a new law allowing property taxes to be phased in over five or 10 years for businesses and industry. The Shelby County Chamber of Commerce had supported the “tax abatement” concept, and city council approved the matter unanimously.
1974: Shelby County ranked first in a contest sponsored by the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs concerning the investment of tax collections. Shelby County treasurer Lossie Marie Linville was lauded for her work. “Shelby County invested all tax collections in the local banks in certificates of deposit,” Linville said. “Throughout the investment period the interest rates ranged from 6 to 9 percent. A unique feature in Shelby’s investment program is the banks’ willingness to sell CDs for as short a period of time as seven days.” Boone County placed second.
1964: The police department purchased two 1964 Dodge “pursuit cars” from Harold Ash Dodge.
1954: Shelbyville High School students named to help the Lions Club operate the Rec were Phil Brown, Jan Stine, Bob Cramer, Anita Rowsey, Jim Fuller, Nancy Taylor, Jackie Tindall, Jerry Moore, Barbara Spillman, Jim Spindler, Nancy Fowl, Sandra McNew, Darlene Carlk and Freddie Clayton.
Four Shelby County Selective Service registrants left for service. They were George Brunner, Ray Hartman, George Breedlove and Robert Everhart.
1944: Two Atterbury soldiers stole a bicycle from Harry Ford, who recognized his own bicycle on Public Square. Police arrested the men, who were intoxicated, and turned them over to military police.
The motion picture “Higher and Higher” was on at The Strand. Two members of the cast had relatives and friends here. Mel Torme, song composer, was the grandson of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Sopkin of Shelbyville, and Ivy Scott was the sister-in-law of Mrs. Harry Walker of West Mechanic St. Ivy Scott was the widow of Fred Walker, who was born and raised in Shelbyville. Ivy Scott was a stage name.
1934: Donald Stulb escaped serious injury when the Willys Knight coupe he was driving turned over on the curve at the Wayside Inn on North Michigan Road. He was thrown 70 feet from the car but only sustained abrasions.
1924: Local boys Nathan Kaufman, Roy Richeson and Clarence Overman played basketball with the Cincinnati All-Star team.
Following Woodrow Wilson’s death on Feb. 3, Mayor Lee Hoop issued a proclamation directing flags on public buildings to be at half-mast for 30 days.
1914: The skeletons of a woman (with no head) and, beside her, an unborn baby, were found in the attic of the Coza Theater, at the corner of Harrison and Broadway by three electricians, Moris Drake, Roy Harris and Chester Ilps. The bodies were partially wrapped with the Cincinnati Enquirer, dated Nov. 22, 1909. A police investivation revealed that the skeleton had once belonged to Dr. Frank Campbell, who rented the rooms above the Coza years before. He had left the skeleton to Dr. R.E. Clark, who had stored them in the attic and forgot to remove them when he moved out.
John C. Weber and his Prize Band of America, consisting of 40 pieces, gave a concert at the City Opera House.