Edina’s first city pool opened in 1958 to much acclaim.
Edina broke new ground, in more ways than one, when voters approved a $200,000 municipal swimming pool in 1957.
Although nearly every community now operates a pool, Edina was the first in the Twin Cities metro area to do so. As the world-famous Southdale Mall was preparing to open its doors, the village of Edina also began modernizing and offering amenities found only in cities of the highest class.
Before then, Edina youngsters had to hop on a bus to take swimming lessons at Lake Harriet. More fortunate children whose families belonged to the Edina Country Club could take a dip closer to home. Many residents simply cooled off in Minnehaha Creek or in one of the many ponds and small lakes on their family farms.
Approving the area’s first municipal pool was no slam dunk. The decision narrowly passed by just a 405-vote margin, 2,164 to 1,759. When the pool opened in 1958, however, resident support was overwhelming. A family pass cost $5 per year, and more than 200 sold the first two days they were offered for sale. An average of 4,000 people a day escaped the heat at Edina’s newest attraction. (Considering Edina’s population was about 20,000 in 1955, that number is even more impressive.)
Between concessions and admissions, the city actually netted $10,000 profit the first year.
Back then, the pool was a no-frills rectangle. No pirate ship, water slides or zip lines like today’s Edina Aquatic Center. Still, to youngsters used to peeling off leeches or shivering in unheated lake waters, the pool offered a little bit of paradise on a hot summer day.
Share your pool memories or other stories about “Growing Up in Edina” for the Edina History Museum’s next exhibit. Contact Marci Matson at 612.928.4577 or via email.