The Evolution of the Quarry Swimming Hole

Quarry Swim Club c1930s – Courtesy Nancy Kennedy

A century ago, the Quarry Swimming Club outside of Hopewell Borough was a just a big hole in the ground – a rock quarry with a acre-sized pit that had filled up with spring water.

So how did this flooded quarry evolve into a swim club? Thanks to multiple contributors, we have a series of photos that tell this story – showing the evolution of the site from the 1920s to the 1970s, from an informal local swimming hole to help cool down during the hot summer into a formally organized swimming club with a separate swimming pool and other facilities.

== See The Founding of the Hopewell Quarry for the first part of the story – the development of the stone quarrying business around 1892 ==

See the History Brief research papers for more detail on the history and people of the Hopewell Quarry, plus references for this information

– Hopewell Quarry Posts – Quarry HistorySwim Club History
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1920s / 30s – Bond Brothers

The quarry site on what we know call Crusher Road indeed originally was a rock quarry business that was started by Joshua S. Cope in the early 1890s. The quarry used stone crusher equipment to create large amounts of crushed stone to build and improve the local roads (see post on the history of The Founding of the Hopewell Quarry).

The stone quarrying business was purchased in 1912 by Amos C. Bond, who later sold the property to his brother William S. Bond in 1928. The quarry site then was operated as a swim club by two additional generations of William Bond’s children until it was sold in 1977.

By the early 1920s, rock quarrying operations had ended at the quarry, the pit had filled up with spring water, and people had begun swimming at the site. Newspaper articles from 1922 both warn of the danger of kids swimming in the lake, and promote organized swimming meets at the site staged by the Hopewell High ‘Y’ Club.

Quarry Swim Club c1920s – Postcard courtesy Sal Torre

The first image is an undated post card from this 1920s-30s period that shows the bare minimum of facilities.

The water level is some 12 feet or more below ground level, so the entrance area to the lake had a long slatted wooden board and some rough steps to get down the bank.

There is a diving board by the entrance area, and a raft in the water.

Behind the lake, a car is pulled up close to the water, and there is a somewhat decrepit barn building nearby as well.

1930s / 40s – Bond Family

Bond family records state that 1935 was the first year the quarry was run as a swim club, with lessons, lifeguards, and an admission price.

The next two photos, from around the 1930s, show a more organized swimming club, with the beginning of elements that have lasted through to today.

Quarry Swim Club c1930s …
… Courtesy Nancy Kennedy

The water level is lower, but now there are stairs and an incline to get down to the landing area at the edge of the water. Plus there is a shack on the right, predecessor to today’s lifeguard hut.

The closer-in photo shows two more sturdy diving boards, one on each side – predecessors to today’s lower board #1 on the left and higher board #2 on the right. The wider-angle photo shows a third board further to the left, predecessor to today’s high board #3, plus several rafts in the water.

Beyond are people relaxing on the grass, with a cars parked around, and several unidentified buildings.

1940s – 1960s – Caseys

In 1942 the Quarry Swimming Club was formally organized. The operation was run by Dezzie Casey, working with his wife, Annie Casey, daughter of William S. Bond. Major improvements included the swimming pool (1941), fencing (1947), and the admissions gatehouse (1957).

The 1941 photo shows the swimming pool, with various buildings behind and parked cars. The lifeguard hut is still high above the water level, but now with steps down to the lake.

c1941 – Courtesy Gyptons
1964 – Courtesy Rich Anderson

The 1964 photo shows the updated look for the facilities, with the water level a bit higher, and tiers of steps down to and into the water.

In addition to the swimming pool, there is the snack bar in the distance, the lifeguard hut by the steps, and the pump house on the right (to draw water from the quarry into the pool).

1970s – Lowes

In 1970, the swim club management was taken over by Forrest Lowe, who had been assistant manager since 1955. He was married to Lois Ann Casey, daughter of Annie Casey, and granddaughter of William S. Bond.

This (partially damaged) 1973 photo shows further expansion of the facility that is very familiar to today’s layout.

In addition to the lifeguard hut and pump house by the lake, there now are picnic areas up the hill to the left, and dressing rooms and other buildings further back by the fence before the parking area.

The water level is higher again, so the two boards on the left and right are less intimidating. There also is a rock wall along the incline down to the water.

1973 – Courtesy Lowe family
1976 – Courtesy Terry Devlin

The 1973 image shows the reverse view looking out over the lake, showing the edge of the pool, the lifeguard hut, and the slope down to the water.

Thanks to the multiple contributors who provided these and other historic images of the development of the Quarry Swimming Club.

We welcome additional historic images and other materials related to the Hopewell Quarry.

More on the Hopewell Quarry and Swim Club

[Kennedy 2017]


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