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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Lynchburg, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Troubled to Healing Waters

A Reflection of Society

 
 
Troubled to Healing Waters Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, September 28, 2021
1. Troubled to Healing Waters Marker
Inscription.  The spring-fed, 500,000-gallon Riverside Park pool acted like a magnet on hot summer days, attracting children and families into its cool confines.

In 1931, 32,403 used the pool and the bathhouse's 420 lockers. A sand beach eased swimmers into one end of the pool while the more adventurous used the diving platform at the opposite end.

However, as historic photos show, an unspoken policy excluded a sizable segment of Lynchburg's residents. Social norms reserved two of the city's three public pools, including Riverside, for whites only.

When several African American men challenged segregation of the pools in 1961, the city closed all three and, seven years later, filled the Riverside pool with dirt and debris.

Today, only the pool's outline is visible, a reminder of a divisive past in a park now enjoyed by all.

Liberation
The pool "swim-in" changed Riverside Park and Lynchburg forever.

Although the city opened two integrated high school pools in 1965, the one in Riverside Park never reopened.

For more than a decade beginning in 1973, the park became the focus of Black Liberation
Marker detail: Swimming Pool, Riverside Park, Lynchburg image. Click for full size.
Courtesy Lynchburg Museum Systems/Graybill Collection
2. Marker detail: Swimming Pool, Riverside Park, Lynchburg
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Day. The celebration, held each year on Memorial Day, showcased African American "ambitions, dreams and talents."

Sunday afternoon picnics in Riverside Park, basketball, car cruising, and gatherings of family and friends became regular activities for the whole community.
 
Erected by City of Lynchburg.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansCivil RightsParks & Recreational Areas. A significant historical year for this entry is 1961.
 
Location. 37° 26.332′ N, 79° 9.81′ W. Marker is in Lynchburg, Virginia. Marker can be reached from Riverside Street, 0.1 miles north of Rivermont Avenue. Marker is located on Treasure Island Road (the park loop trail) inside Riverside Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2238 Rivermont Avenue, Lynchburg VA 24503, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Packet Boat Marshall (within shouting distance of this marker); Hull of the Packet Boat Marshall (within shouting distance of this marker); The Long View (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Fink Deck Truss (about 700 feet away); Miller-Claytor House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Safe Haven in Lynchburg: Project Y (approx. Ό mile away); Pearl S. Buck
Marker detail: Riverside Swimming Pool image. Click for full size.
Courtesy Lynchburg History
3. Marker detail: Riverside Swimming Pool
Once idyllic only for some, Riverside passed through a period of protest before maturing into a playground for the whole city.
(approx. half a mile away); Randolph-Macon Woman's College (approx. 0.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lynchburg.
 
Also see . . .  The History of Riverside Park in Lynchburg, Virginia. Pool construction began in December of 1923 with the excavation being done by convict labor. The swimming pool officially opened on August 9, 1924. It was 210’ long and 50’ wide at the upper end and 70’ wide at the outlet with a depth of 1” to 8.5’ at its deepest. On July 5, 1961, all three city pools (Riverside Park, Miller Park, and Jefferson Park) were closed for the remainder of the summer “when seven negroes sought admission to Miller Park pool.” The Riverside Park pool was filled in 1968, the bath house was demolished, and the concession stand was closed. (Submitted on September 29, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Marker detail: Riverside Swimming Pool image. Click for full size.
Courtesy Lynchburg History
4. Marker detail: Riverside Swimming Pool
Marker detail: Black Moses image. Click for full size.
5. Marker detail: Black Moses
This 1986 photo shows members of Black Moses, community leaders who helped open Riverside Park to everyone.
Troubled to Healing Waters Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, September 28, 2021
6. Troubled to Healing Waters Marker
(Riverside pool ruins in background • park loop trail on right)
Riverside Swimming Pool Ruins image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, September 28, 2021
7. Riverside Swimming Pool Ruins
(view from marker)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 29, 2021. It was originally submitted on September 29, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 120 times since then and 69 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on September 29, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.

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Jun. 29, 2022