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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Cool Pool

by Jaquelin Drane Nash, 2006

On 9 July 1933 the Tarboro Town Council voted to ask Frick and Company of Waynesboro, Pa., to design and install a refrigerating unit for its new municipal swimming pool. After operating for only three months, the olympic-design pool, containing 300,000 gallons of water and with a constant flow of 400 gallons per minute, had become uncomfortably warm from the summer's record heat and the activity of swimmers. By mid-August Frick had installed the refrigerating device at a cost of $2,592, making the Tarboro pool what is believed to have been the first and perhaps only refrigerated outdoor pool in the country.

Tarboro's "cool pool" drew crowds of swimmers and swimming meets throughout the 1930s. In 1943 the national Amateur Athletic Union was held there, with Governor J. Melville Broughton as the honored guest. Native Tarboro swimmers won blue ribbons all over the country during this period, as the town's unique pool helped put it firmly in the national swimming picture.

Image credit:

Baker. 1939. "Carolyn Perrett, May Champion Winner, Tarboro." North Carolina Department of Conservation and Development. State Archives of NC, Call no. ConDev2016A.

See also: "Municipal Swimming Pool, Tarboro, N. C." Date unknown. Asheville Postcard Company. North Carolina Postcard Collection. Local identifier: P052;033-0034/ North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Online at,9916.

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