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Glen Echo in Montgomery County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Glen Echo Park’s Crystal Pool

 
 
Glen Echo Park's Crystal Pool Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, October 27, 2007
1. Glen Echo Park's Crystal Pool Marker
Inscription. For the trolley parks of the 1900’s, pools were important, lucrative attractions. They provided a place for people to swim without having to travel the long miles to the beach. One such pool, Kennywood Park Pool in Pittsburgh, opened in 1925 and was once the site of the Miss Pittsburgh Pageant. Palisades Amusement Park’s “Surf Bathing” pool (1913) was America’s largest salt-water pool! Along with the Crystal Pool, these pools provided a perfect setting for many amazing memories.

The Beginning of the Crystal Pool. The Crystal Pool was designed by Alexander, Becker and Schoeppe of Philadelphia, also the architects of the Spanish Ballroom, and construction on it was started on February 21, 1931 by Skinker and Garrett. The pool held 1.5 million gallons of water and could accomodate 3,000 swimmers. At the entrance, a fee of 50 cents for adults and 25 cents for children (in later years 80 cents and 30 cents respectively) was exchanged for a locker key and a towel. Upstairs, in what is now a grassy field, they swam in four sections—the diving area, with high and low diving boards, was closest to the entrance, then the deep area, the general swimming area, and the wading pool off to one side. A 10,000 square foot sand beach next to the ballroom provided a place for swimmers to relax and sunbathe. Complete
Crystal Pool Entrance (Front View) image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, October 27, 2007
2. Crystal Pool Entrance (Front View)
with locker rooms, indoor and outdoor showers, a waterslide, a “big rest float,” lights, and an electric fountain, the Crystal Pool was one of the largest and most beautiful pools in the nation. A refreshment stand was located next to the beach and an observation pavilion provided seating for spectators. A guard house was built next to the wading pool for lifeguards. In the end, the Crystal Pool cost over $200,000 to build.

The Location of the Crystal Pool. Today, all that remains of the Crystal Pool is the front entrance and scattered ruins. The Crystal Pool sign, where you are now standing, marks the entrance to the pool. Through these doors, guests paid their entrance fee before making their way to the locker room building to the right. The Crystal Pool itself was above the entrance; if you were to walk through the doors now, you would actually be below pool level. The pool was one level higher. If you walk uphill to your left, and stand on the field adjacent to the playground, you would be standing in what was the main pool.

Crystal Pool Memories. Throughout its many years, the crystal pool attracted countless visitors to the park, and became the background for many fond memories. Thousands of people swam in the Crystal Pool daily and lazed the day away on its beach. Many people in the Washington area still remember cooling
Crystal Pool Entrance (Rear View) image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, October 27, 2007
3. Crystal Pool Entrance (Rear View)
The photographer is standing in a picnic grove formerly occupied by the Crystal Pool.
off here on hot summer days. A lifeguard once reported that “the pool was so crowded swimmers were bumping into each other,” and a local man remembers “learning to swim with the help of his friends who believed in the sink or swim method.” One woman recalls summers here with fondness. “We knew the summer was officially here when the Crystal Pool opened. It really was something to look forward to.”

The Demise of the Crystal Pool. Like all trolley park pools, the Crystal Pool eventually saw the end of its days. After the amusement park closed in 1968, the pool was drained and some of its buildings were used as a sculpture studio. By March 1982, however, the locker rooms and observation platforms were deemed structurally unsound and the pool was demolished. The Crystal Pool remains only a distant memory of times gone by.
 
Erected 2006 by Jessie S. Felling, Volunteer, National Park Service, in May.
 
Location. 38° 57.983′ N, 77° 8.359′ W. Marker is in Glen Echo, Maryland, in Montgomery County. Marker is on Macarthur Boulevard ¼ mile from Goldsboro Road. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Glen Echo MD 20812, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 12 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Changing Face of Glen Echo
Glen Echo Park’s Main Pool, Grandstand and Beach Area image. Click for full size.
Historic American Buildings Survey, Library of Congress, ca. 1930
4. Glen Echo Park’s Main Pool, Grandstand and Beach Area
(here, next to this marker); The Roller Coasters of Glen Echo Amusement Park (a few steps from this marker); 1921 (a few steps from this marker); The Glen Echo Park Yurts (within shouting distance of this marker); Glen Echo From Past to Present (within shouting distance of this marker); c. 1931 (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named 1921 (within shouting distance of this marker); Glen Echo Civil Rights Protest (within shouting distance of this marker); c. 1926 (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); A Trolley Returns to Glen Echo (about 400 feet away but has been reported missing); Trolley Parks In America (about 400 feet away); Glen Echo’s Art Deco Arcade (about 400 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Glen Echo.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. To better understand the relationship, study each marker in the order shown.
 
Categories. 20th Century
 
Aerial view of Glen Echo Park’s Crystal Pool image. Click for full size.
Alexander, Becker and Schoeppe Architects, Library of Congress, 1931
5. Aerial view of Glen Echo Park’s Crystal Pool
Glen Echo Park’s Crystal Pool Entrance image. Click for full size.
Historic American Buildings Survey, Library of Congress, ca. 1930
6. Glen Echo Park’s Crystal Pool Entrance
Crystal Pool image. Click for full size.
By Michael Stroud, May 2003
7. Crystal Pool
"Fond memories of swimming here. My first ever dive off a diving board!"
Glen Echo Park’s Crystal Pool image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, 2011
8. Glen Echo Park’s Crystal Pool
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. This page has been viewed 4,924 times since then and 38 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland.   4, 5, 6. submitted on , by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico.   7. submitted on , by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.   8. submitted on , by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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