© Jerry F. Couch 2018
CONTINUED FROM LAST WEEK — The initial site chosen for the Myles Pool was on Riverside Drive (currently the site of a shuttered Texaco service station). The St. Paul National Bank owned this site and the bank’s president, Sen. M. M. Long, offered to donate the vacant lots. Though this was an excellent spot for a business, it would have been a terrible spot for a swimming pool. It was bordered by a roaring coal tipple, a main highway, the railroad tracks, and beer joints. For a while the situation appeared to be “this or nothing.” Building lots in the downtown area of St. Paul were in short supply and commanded premium prices during the prosperous post-war era.
Then someone got the idea of building the new pool on Tazewell Street across from the St. Paul School. The proximity of the pool to the school property was and still is ideal. The Riverside Drive lots originally offered by the by the bank were sold for $1,500 and the money obtained from the sale was contributed toward the purchase the Tazewell Street lots.
To oversee the construction of the Myles Pool, a non-profit corporation was formed. Jim Muse was its president and the directors were Claude Cooper, representing the American Legion; Mary Cox, representing the St. Paul Junior Woman’s Club; Bernice Gibson, representing the St. Paul Senior Woman’s Club; and H. W. Livingston, representing the “community at large,” aka Clinchfield Coal Corporation.
Twenty-one local businesses and individuals pledged $100 each for the pool project. Combined with the financial backing of Miss L. V. Myles, the St. Paul-Dante Lions Club, and others, construction could begin.
St. Paul Supply Company served as general contractor, performing the work at actual cost without markup or profit. Victor Vaughn did the engineering and survey work for free. Cement was in short supply due to the Korean Conflict, which had just started. Fortunately, sufficient cement was obtained through the efforts of Clinchfield Coal Corporation and Clinchfield Lumber & Supply. Water for the pool was provided by the Town of St. Paul.
Numerous people donated their time whenever and wherever possible. Without their efforts, the pool might never have been built. Some of these community helpers can be seen painting the pool fence in the header photo.
The children pictured above are enjoying playground equipment installed beside the Myles Pool soon after it was built (you can see the pool in the background). This equipment was purchased with money raised by the St. Paul-Dante Lions Club and the junior and senior members of the Womans Club of St. Paul.
The Myles Pool served us well from 1950 until 1980 when it was replaced by the St. Paul Municipal Pool. Though it hardly seems possible, the “new” pool has been in existence longer than the town’s original pool.