Kingsport: Come on in, the water’s fine!

It’s summertime! Time for swimming pools and slip ‘n’ slides, trips to the lake and wading across creeks. The newest archival exhibit at the Kingsport Public Library is all about ways to cool off on hot summer days.

Bathing babies from the Red and V.L. Cloud scrapbooks c.1930s (Spoden collection KCMC 516)

Bathing babies from the Red and V.L. Cloud scrapbooks c.1930s (Spoden Collection KCMC 516)

The photographs used in the “Come on in, the water’s fine!” exhibit come from 13 different collections within the Archives.

The exhibit is contained in two display cases on the main floor of the library.

The exhibit is contained in two display cases on the main floor of the library.

The idea for the exhibit came to me a few weeks ago when I happened upon a photograph taken the day Legion Pool was dedicated. Such a sad loss for our town when that pool was closed. The City Archivist and I often talk about the events hosted at the pool and the stories and memories patrons share about the pool. So, this exhibit is my way of paying tribute to how a community’s swimming and recreation centers can unite its citizens and create common memories among its young people.

Images range a time span from the 1920s to through to the early 1990s.

Images span the time from the 1920s through the early 1990s.

Below are some of my favorite images from the exhibit.

smChurch Hill Team1990RedCrossAbove: The Church Hill swim team who won the Red Cross’ 1990 “Swim Across” competition and fundraiser.

smWeberJerryRedCross1991Jerry Weber, a summer lifeguard for one of the neighborhood pools, competing in a lifeguard competition in 1991.

WLegionPool 30Children enjoying the free swim event at Legion Pool during FunFest, 1990. The Archives has a great collection of FunFest negatives taken by Times-News photographers. I used several really colorful images in the exhibit.

Sprankle7403
Young campers at American Legion Camp Hammond, c1923. The central item on display in each case is a page from the Leroy Sprankle scrapbook that I digitized a while back. Sprankle used to take his sport teams to the camp, located between the Holston River and Kendricks Creek in the Pactolus area of town. The entire photo album is so packed full of gems, it is one of my favorite things in the archives.

Sprankle7501Scouts enjoying the creek at Camp Hammond, c. 1923.

Sprankle7502Some kids like to cool off in the water, but others seem to prefer . . . the mud.

Sprankle7601
Boys in a muddy section of Camp Hammond, 1924. Notice the last names of the boys above; very common to our area.

“The Water’s fine exhibit” will be on display through September 2016. Bring a friend and enjoy it for yourself. Sunscreen optional.

Feature image: Children swimming at Legion Pool from the Times-News FunFest Negatives.

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3 Responses to Kingsport: Come on in, the water’s fine!

  1. Tom Shipley says:

    I am a Kingsport native, but I live in Birmingham, Michigan now. But I remember the days we spent in the pool. I still remember Kingsport as the neatest place I ever lived.

  2. Karen Cassell says:

    I spent my summers at the pool and remember my mother and grandmother talking about Camp Hammond. Wonderful display! I am like Charlotte, it put a smile on my face.

  3. Charlotte says:

    I’m replying with a smile on my face – thank you for that. So many memories of wonderful times as a child in water – any kind of water.

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