Maplewood History: The Maplewood Swimming Carnival and Beauty Pageant

The original Maplewood Pool and bath house opened in 1938.  This was also the first year of the Maplewood Swimming Carnival and Beauty Pageant.  The folks in charge obviously got right down to business.

Known today as the Maplewood Family Aquatic Center, it is the place to be on these steamy summer days.  Perhaps if I’d spend a bit less time there I’d be able to get more of these history posts out.  Nah.

The original plaque showing the construction beginning in 1936 and finishing in 1938. Interestingly this is a WPA project as most folks are aware. The high school next door, however, is a PWA (Public Works Administration) project as was pointed out to me by county historian Esley Hamiltion.

The original plaque showing the construction beginning in 1936 and finishing in 1938. Interestingly this is a WPA project as most folks are aware. The high school next door, however, is a PWA (Public Works Administration) project as was pointed out to me by county historian Esley Hamilton.

As this article from the 1940 Globe-Democrat shows the Swimming Carnival must have begun the very first year the facility was open for business. That's hitting the ground running. (Sorry, couldn't think of a swimming metaphor.)

As this Globe-Democrat article from August 4, 1940 explains, the Swimming Carnival must have begun the very first year the facility was open for business. That’s hitting the ground running. (Sorry, couldn’t think of a swimming metaphor.)

These newspaper clippings are courtesy of the Maplewood Public Library.

These newspaper clippings are courtesy of the Maplewood Public Library.

The bathing beauties. Their identities are next to the following image.

The bathing beauties. Their identities are next to the following image.

IMG_3147 LR

IMG_3146 LR

Undated staff photo. Courtesy of Martin Fischer

Undated staff photo. Courtesy of Martin Fischer.

Ditto. Courtesy of Martin Fischer

Ditto. Courtesy of Martin Fischer.

A copper printing block from the Kalb collection. courtesy of Martin Fischer.

A copper printing block from the Kalb collection. Courtesy of Martin Fischer.

13 thoughts on “Maplewood History: The Maplewood Swimming Carnival and Beauty Pageant

  1. I came from North St. Louis in the mid 1940’s to swim with my cousins who lived in Maplewood. It was the best and cleanest pool in the metro area. a great area to have fun and swim. I suppose the big round lights are still under the water, or did Political Correctness have them removed.

    • I’m not sure why PC would care at all, Speak Now. The original pool was completely replaced, I believe it was the year 2000 or close to that. The 50 meter competition pool was rebuilt a little further south. Separate from it and between it and the original pool house (now the library) is a second large pool area with many attractions for youngsters including a giant slide and lazy river. Separating those two pools was a really good idea. So if you haven’t swum in Maplewood in awhile you ought to come on over and try out our newer facility, Speak Now…or forever hold your piece. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

      • Well, I just hope they didn’t get in over their heads or if they did I hope they came up for air now and then. If the carnival turned out to be hard to manage they might have found themselves up —- creek without a paddle. Wait a minute. That won’t work. That’s a boat metaphor. See what you started, Terry.

  2. Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t the Maplewood pool the site of several events in the 1904 Olympics? Most St. Louisans know about the 1904 World’s Fair, but most don’t seem to know St. Louis hosted the Olympics that year too.

    • Isadora, the Maplewood Pool and bathhouse (that we still have…now our library) weren’t built until 1936-8. Maplewood didn’t become a city until 1908. I’d say that the rumor that Olympic swimming happened here is unlikely. Matter of fact I don’t know where Maplewoodians swam for those 30 years between 1908 and 38. It’s an interesting question. Thanks you for your comment.

  3. “couldn’t think of a swimming metaphor”? Doug, they dove right in! PS the plaque still hangs in the foyer by the front door