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Area Springs in Austin Texas

Jun 4, 2008
Though the heat of the summer in Austin can be a real drain on exercising or any outdoor activity, the city is blessed with several public pools in which to cool off.

Probably the most well known pool to Austinites, and those visiting, is Barton Springs Pool located near the Barton Hills neighborhood. The pool sits on a lovely 3 acres of hillside, with a nice shallow end for children, and a deep end for those who brought their floats, as well as others who want to swim a lap or two. The pool is a natural spring, and got its name in 1837 from William "Uncle Billy" Barton, who owned the tract of land which included the springs. Once the area became a city park in 1917, the residents began to flock to the refreshing spring water, which averages 68 degrees year round.

People-watching at Barton Springs is phenomenal. All walks of life enjoy the pool, from tattooed bohemian types, to legislators, and all those in between, with a rash of topless sunbathers in the 1970s. The diving board in the middle of the pool provides hours of entertainment for the divers and the spectators who will break into applause for a triple flip or a belly flop.

Many make a trip to Barton Springs pool a daily event, and a summer pass is available for those who frequent the pool. Beverly Sheffield served as director of the Austin Parks and Recreation Department from 1946-1973 and swam 3 times a week for 73 years before his death.

Just down the Colorado River from Barton Springs pool lies the Deep Eddy Pool. Deep Eddy is the oldest swimming pool in Texas, built in 1915 by A.J. Eilers. What used to be a popular swimming hole became a concrete pool, though still spring-fed via a 35 foot hand dug well. During the 1920s, the pool became part of the Deep Eddy Bathing Beach, with cabins and camping areas surrounding it. At that time, Lorena's diving horse was a big hit, with horse and rider diving off a 50 foot platform into the water.

The Deep Eddy pool is still a popular cool off spot today, and is perfect for those looking to swim laps or laze in the wading pool. During the summer, a large movie screen is set up for Splash Party Movie Nights, when family friendly films are shown in the evenings when the air is still hot enough to enjoy a nighttime swim.

In Travis Heights, Stacy Pool is open year round. The land was donated by Stacy's Real Estate Company in 1929, and the pool was built by the government sponsored Works Progress Administration project in 1935. For those that enjoy warmer water than that of Barton Springs or Deep Eddy, during the winter months, Stacy pool's water is a mixture of city water and 100 degree well water pumped from the Trinity Aquifer, resulting in a pool temperature around 80 degrees. The residents of Travis Heights use Stacy pool as a meeting place to chat and exercise. Some of the families in the area have been doing so for the past 80 years, generation after generation.

There are many other neighborhood pools, such as Ramsey pool in Rosedale, and Shipe Pool in Hyde Park, but there are also several small wading pools tucked in parks all around the city. These pools, such as the Clarksville Wading Pool in Clarksville and Eastwoods Wading Pool, were mostly built in the 1930s and 40s as a place for children to cool off after a day of playing at the park. Today, these pools are still a great place to take babies and small children, and tend to be more secluded, though most are only open from mid-June through early August, and stay open daily for just a few hours.

If the summer heat gets to be too much, take a dip! There's probably a pool nearby.
About the Author
Ki is realtor in Austin. He runs a small site about Austin Real Estate which provides visitors a free search of the Austin MLS. He also provides market analysis on his Austin real estate blog.
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