New Swimming Pool Dedicated

Opening Day Swim Meet, Hawes Pool, South Norwood, Massachusetts, July 3, 1949
Opening Day Swim Meet, Hawes Pool July 3, 1949

The “Hawes Brook” swimming pool was dedicated on Sunday, August 23, 1936, and the occasion was marked with a swim meet. Harry B. Butters, Chairman of the Norwood Board of Selectmen, spoke to the crowd and officially dedicated the pool.

The American Red Cross Association awarded prizes to the winners of the meet and certificates were awarded to those who successfully passed their life-saving examinations. Buttons were awarded to those who passed the beginner’s swimming course.

Although dedicated in August, the new pool was open for supervised swimming from June 8 to September 10, 1936, with daily average attendance of around three hundred. On a hot day, up to six hundred bathers could be found enjoying the new pool that summer.

Swimming had previously taken place in Morse Pond, but there were no lifeguards on duty and many people, including several children, drowned in the murky pond water.

In 1931, the Playground Department (precursor of the modern Recreation Department) began supervised swimming at Morse Pond for the first time when they turned the adjacent land into a playground. This relieved the overcrowded summer conditions at the Balch school playground. The Public Works Department worked hard to improve sanitary conditions at Morse Pond, and hundreds of children enjoyed swimming there under the watch of a lifeguard each day.

Both Morse Pond and the land used for the playground were owned by local Charles S. Bird Jr., who offered to donate them to the town in 1932, with the condition that a right of way would be reserved, that a fence was erected between the playground and Endean farm, and that he retained the right to name the playground, which became known as “Endean Playground” or just “Endean”.

Related:  The Oomph Seven, Norwood’s Cheerleaders-This Day In Norwood History-November 30, 1939

In July of 1934, Norwood Town Meeting voted to appropriate $1200 to lease a parcel of land on Washington Street adjacent to Hawes Brook from the Winslow Bros. & Smith Company for use for public playground purposes. This included the cost of improving the parcel by the construction of a swimming pool. Federal Emergency Relief Administration money was also used for the project.

By 1935, several acres of land at Endean Playground had been sufficiently cleared, graded, and loamed and a regulation baseball diamond had been added, providing an additional area for other playground activities. Construction of the new swimming pool was underway.

The 1936 town report stated:

The new Hawes Brook Swimming Pool was dedicated in August and replaced the Morse Pond Pool which has been abandoned as unsatisfactory. The daily attendance at this pool was very large and clearly shows that the construction of a swimming pool at this location is appreciated by the residents of this section of the Town and that much benefit will be derived from this pool. Incidentally, this pool will be used for ice skating during the winter seasons.