Wading pool was popular at Sumter's Memorial Park

A 2-part look at how Sumter kept its cool before air conditioning

By SAMMY WAY
Posted 9/2/18

Reflections recalls the early summer activities enjoyed by the young people of Sumter in a two-part series. This part focuses on visitors to Memorial Park, and part two will highlight activities at Savage-Glover School. This facility was open during …

This item is available in full to subscribers

Wading pool was popular at Sumter's Memorial Park

A 2-part look at how Sumter kept its cool before air conditioning

Posted

Reflections recalls the early summer activities enjoyed by the young people of Sumter in a two-part series. This part focuses on visitors to Memorial Park, and part two will highlight activities at Savage-Glover School. This facility was open during the summer months and was a part of the city's recreational schedule of activities. The information and photos used to complete this article were secured from The Sumter Item archives.

An article published in 1938 gives the reader an overview of the origin and enjoyment of the much-loved addition to the park. "This playground was open under supervision from Monday through Friday each week. The hours were from 9 to 12 noon and from 2 to 5 p.m. Miss Ethel Morrissey was in charge and led the children in quiet play during the hottest hours, told or read stories and looked after them on the playground apparatus. An assistant was provided as needed; both of the workers were sent by the WPA as part of their recreation program."

The favorite part of the playground was the wading pool constructed by the Shriners of Sumter in 1924. This pool was 24 inches deep in the west end and 6 inches deep on the east side. Its use enabled small children to overcome their fear of the water, and how they enjoyed it. The pool was drained and cleaned daily, and the water was sterilized before the children entered it. Children using the pool were required to wear bathing suits and were inspected to be sure no rashes were evident. If they had even a small sore on their feet or legs caused by scratching insect bites, they were not allowed to enter the water. After the bathers spent their full time in the water, the pool was drained and refilled, then children who did not bring suits were allowed to wade and play in the pool. The children were protected and supervised."