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2005 Ohio Historic Preservation Office Award Recipients

  of Columbus Grove / Columbus Grove Pool Society / Poggemeyer Design Group receives award
Village of Columbus Grove / Columbus Grove Pool Society / Poggemeyer Design Group

Columbus Grove has what may be the most unusual swimming pool in Ohio. In the 1930s, citizens raised funds to buy an old quarry in a picturesque setting near town. Workers for the WPA converted it into a swimming pool, park, and recreation area using limestone from the quarry. Reminiscent of a sand castle, the one-of-a-kind pool was finished in 1937. Because of its history and its unusual design, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997, although the number of people using it had declined due to deferred maintenance. Realizing that they had something special, the village of 2,200 people authorized an income tax to finance $750,000 in improvements, aided by funds raised by the Columbus Grove Pool Society. Founded in 1991, the society has over 150 members from Rhode Island to California. Since its inception, the society has paid for and planted trees, shrubs, flowers, and groundcover and sponsored improvements to the pool and bathhouse, raising funds with events like the Haunted Pool, An Evening Under the Stars with the Lima Symphony, and a holiday Winterwalk. In 2003, the Village hired Poggemeyer Design Group to renovate the pool while preserving its picturesque setting and character. The project included installing a stainless steel liner, repairing the limestone walls and walkways, adding access for people with disabilities, installing new fencing, lights, and landscaping, and improving the bathhouse. To make the pool safer for children, the deep end was raised from 9 feet to 5.5 feet, the diving board was replaced with a new water slide, and additional water features were incorporated in the shallow end. A water play area for small children replaced the old wading pool. The landmark pool, once in danger of closing, reopened in June 2004 with renewed vitality as a recreation area for the Village of Columbus Grove and neighboring communities.

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