Friday, October 17, 2008

Altadena's First Water Park

Some of you may remember Case, who first commented on my post about Cinema 21 on Washington Blvd. As a kid, Case lived behind the Cinema in a 1920's bungalow long since torn down. Case shared his story with us on my September 24th post, and many of you asked for pictures of his bungalow.

He didn't have photos of the bungalow, but he did have this one of a different house, which came with another bit of local history:


"This one is the ~Ranchero Modurne~ on Wapello & Tonia in Altadena, where we moved to in 1959. As I have been told, the Pool used to be a Public Pool of sorts, and the house was built about 25 years [after the pool was built]. Being the first owners, the day we moved in, there were 20-30 neighborhood kids & their parents in the pool.... and in the House, and using the bathroom, and making Sandwiches in the Kitchen, and even storing Beer & Sodas in the Fridge, leaving puddles of water everywhere! Of course, the pool you see in the pic is the rebuilt one we put in many years latter. The original pool had rounded corners that sloped gently to the bottom. You could actually run water down the deep end corner when the pool was being filled, and slide down it into the bottom on your bottom with a cool splash. Pasadena's First Water Park! Eventually, the public got it drummed into their heads that the pool was no longer "Open". Especially when we started charging them! Ha Ha... And Yes, that's Snow on the Gabriels!"

Case, thanks for a great story and a fun photo to go with it.

18 comments:

JT said...

Now days, having all the neighbor kids over for an "open swim" would invite lawsuits. Can you imagine having each parent filling out wavers?

Great photo and love the snow!

Vanda said...

Funny story. I love that photo. Old color photos tend to shift towards warm tones over the years, but this one has gone for the blues. It gives the picture a light and dreamy quality.

Bernie K. said...

Wow, it's like a vitrine of childhood memory. I remember the smell of chlorine, how screaming kids sounded from underwater …

I wonder about that orange reflection. The sun? A lamp?

Laurie said...

What a cool story, P. And I love the old photo -- it's 20th Century optimistic, back when developers thought suburbs like this were going to transform our world into a paradise.

Petrea said...

We had a backyard pool in our Illinois house. One of the neighborhood boys was a lifeguard, so when he was available we had a lot of kids over.

This does have a dream quality, as Vanda says. As though people would move through the scene in slow motion, the ice clinking in their cocktail glasses. I wondered about the reflection, too, Bernie. Like a flame of a backyard barbecue? Maybe Case will pop in and tell us.

"20th Century Optimistic." What a great phrase, Laurie. Little did they know it was paradise already and didn't need any transformation.

pasadenaadjacent.com said...

I love this post. I remember snow on the San Gabriels. A friend of mine was born at the Huntington the day it snowed.
I would argue that the first water park in Pasadena was under the Colorado street bridge. Take notice of the horizontal bans running across the concrete slope (directly under the bridge). Those were put up because we kids use to slide down the collected slime. We climbed back up via a rope tied to a post. Slime slide is was what we called it.

altadenahiker said...

Marco. Polo. All that's missing is kids with green hair.

Kim said...

OMG, this is SO my entire childhood!! My folks house was shaped like this (built in 1953). We had a raised pool, but our friends had exactly the pool described. This is so typically SoCal in the 50s through 70s. An era perfectly captured with the mountains behind in this shot. Like Bernie, I CAN hear the kids from under water, smell the chlorine. . .but that's mixed with nightblooming jasmine and the blurry eyes we kids looked at the moon with after spending the entire day in the water. And crickets. Thanks for sharing this photo and story today, Petrea.
-Kim
Seattle Daily Photo

Kim said...

Oh, and Petrea, back then in these neighborhoods it was more a beer than cocktail affair :-).
-K.

USelaine said...

I guess I'm the only one who thinks the "public pool" story sounds like a classic nightmare! Strangers overtaking your personal space?! Looking at you as an insignificant flea as they commandeer your mustard?! You scream and scream, but no sound comes out?! You wake up to a strange kid eating potato salad standing beside you, staring at you?! And you're naked?!

It's going to be a rough night.

Petrea said...

PA, back when I posted about the boxes under the bridge, the local cops I met told me about those early episodes of the slime slide. I woulda been there, had I grown up here, unless I was at the local pool. I was one of those green hair kids.

Ah, Kim. The cocktail was only my fantasy. Too much TV.

Elaine, I agree it's a nightmare. Case tells it with cheer, but I'm sure his parents were freaked. When John and I moved to Van Nuys we discovered on the first day of school that our yard and front porch were the hang-out where the high school kids waited for their rides after school. A tough school, too. Fights, screaming, vandalism. It wasn't easy re-training the masses. Much of the time I did not remain calm.

Christie said...

Love the picture of the used-to-be-open pool, Petrea. Isn't it funny how other people treat what we consider "ours" is such an important thing to us? We put up a fence between us and the neighbors (for privacy mostly) but to keep the property line intact as well. We were having problems since they were inching over year by year and we were "losing ground". Thankfully, all is well, and we enjoy our yard even more now, and I think they do as well!

Petrea said...

On two sides of our present home, Christie, we've had to do fence repair. Both times, we've shared costs and/or labor with our good neighbors. Good fences make good neighbors.

lynn said...

How interesting! Wow I could do with that pool... lovely, Petrea.

Petrea said...

Thanks, Lynn. Wish I'd taken the photo. We all could have used a swim yesterday as it was very hot. Today is much cooler.

Miss Havisham said...

How very cool.

and I want to make a vitrine.

Case said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Case said...

According to Opie Taylor, my childhood BFF, the Orange Glow is from some sort of Cocoon. ( mumffftt...Yuck Yuck ! ) Being a Photography Blog tho, I suppose I should be forthright and explain that since I don't have a scanner, it's a photo of a photo, and the Orange ball of fire is just that, a reflection of the nearest and dearest Star, only viewed from Phoenix.
A few more tidbits of info... Yes, my buds/bros and I jumped off the porch roof ALL the TIME ! That round hole in the Kitchen Door was egress & exit for our loveable mongrel, Cindy, who used to run arround and arround the pool until her nails were worn down to the quick, and bleeding. ( The poor loyal little trooper... She always seemed to think we were drowning, and barked incessently to alert the 'rents ! ) We had home-grown Bannas every year, thanks to that fantastic So-Cal Climate that I really miss so much !

Thank you Petrea, for the share. I suppose you are saving the Sport Car Pic I sent, for the Future... Hope to see it soon ! Sorry I can't follow your blog every day, but I guess then it's more of a Treat ! The Trick, I suppose, is to act like no time has passed at all since the last visit, right ? ^_^