Wife Lila and I hadn’t been back to Capaha Park since the pool was razed. When we pulled into the loop, there was an audible gasp from the seat next to me.
The pool where she had been a lifeguard for 10 years had been erased. The city didn’t even have the tact to leave behind a reminder like the oval that had been the old pool in the background of the photo.
Fighting back tears, she said, “I don’t know how you can feel this way about something that’s not a person.”
Salvaged half a brick
There were a few brick fragments sticking out of the mud from last night’s rains. The first one I brought her was red, but neither of us could remember any red brick being used in the building. Later, Bill /Jacqie Jackson, Lila’s lifeguard colleague said that there was one course of red brick used as an accent in the pool building.
I’ll have to take his word for it. It must have been used in an interior wall, because I don’t see it in any of the photos I took just before the wreckers moved in.
I went back to retrieve a tan brick that was more like we both remembered.
Laurie scored brick and fence cap
Lila gave Jacqie her half-brick because Niece Laurie Everett, of Annie Laurie’s Antiques fame, scored her a whole brick and the cap off one of the fence posts while demolition was in progress.
Earlier stories about Capaha Pool
- Comprehensive story about the pool from the perspective of some of the lifeguards. Contains many links.
- Photos of the pool just before demolition.
- Missourian photographer Fred Lynch’s photos of equipment gobbling up pool.
8 Replies to “Capaha Pool: Erased”
I, too, cried a lot the day I went by and saw the pool being demolished. I thought it seemed silly to mourn the loss of an inanimate object. It wasn’t until just a few days later that I realized that I was really mourning the loss of a bit of my past, my history, and my memories. They say those never leave you, but having the physical reminder of the pool kept them that much closer to my heart.
All good things must end at some point. It was time.
The destruction of the pool is yet another reminder that Cape Woe-be-gone is going, as those we left behind to maintain the magic remind us so eloquently.
Current Cape residents are among the most highly taxed (sales & real property taxes combined) in the state of Missouri. Included in the sales tax is a half percent for Parks and Recreation. This above and beyond what is paid for by property tax. Every time a Girardean buys a $20,000 auto, he/she directly contributes an addional $100 to the above department.
With this unending flow of funds the town gets a waterpark and more indoor meeting space. But, is there a public facility where 6-8 year olds can get the feeling of real achievement when they say, I swam accross the pool without touching” or more park land and scenic drives.
It would be interesting to read the comments about the destruction of the waterpark in the current Girardot photographer’s blog in 2055.
I’m not in favor going to the nth degree of trouble and expense to preserve every historic building, or restoring it to the way it looked at some arbitrary point in time. It’s too expensive to be practical, for one thing. But if the building can’t be saved, I like adaptive re-use for history’s sake, even if it means putting vinyl siding on it and using it as a tool shed. As long as it’s in the original location, it can serve as a reminder of the historical value of a place. Even if all that can be done with an old stone barn is save a corner of the foundation as a backdrop for a flower planting, that can be a good historical commemoration. I am usually more in favor of saving some little remnant on the original location than of saving the whole building but moving it elsewhere.
Your idea that at least the city could have kept a reminder of the oval is another one along these lines.
I’m glad you got some bricks, anyway.
To tear down the Cape Pool probably cost just as much money as it would have to repair any problems. This was just STUPID! There was still a need for that pool as now everyone complains that the water park pool is too small and full of little kids- The Central Pool is too cold- It’s closed to the public often for team practice and meets- etc., etc..
That pool was a refreshing landmark in Cape that brought a lot of friends and families out to that park. IT’S A SHAME THAT CITY BOARDS CAN’T SEE QUALITY IN RESTORATION. ALL THEY SEEM TO THINK ABOUT IS TEAR IT DOWN- BUILD SOMETHING BIGGER OR BETTER- OR MAKE A PARKING LOT OUT OF IT! AND ALWAYS BECAUSE, IT’S THE TAXPAYER’S DOLLAR!!!! NOT THEIRS, SO THEY DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT WHERE THE MONEY WILL COME FROM . . . .
Surely Cape residents will rise to the challenge and vote an even larger sales tax if a new pool can not be funded from the cash already generated by the half percent rake Parks and Recreation already gets.
Note that the Country Club pool that was built around 1928 stil serves, having been resurfaced a number of times, perhaps the difference between public and private decision process.
During the 8 years I was on the council, we pondered closing the Capaha Pool because of deterioration, outdated equipment, sagging roof, and chemical leaks. It was time to replace or remove. The Parks Board decided to replace with water park so that pool could be closed down. The attendance had been declining through the years.
It is sad to see a bare spot there now. I took swimming lessons there for years and hung out during the summers.
During my visit to Cape this summer I stopped by Capaha Park a number of times and walked around the old pool site. I remembered the 17 summers I spent there, either as a student, patron, swim instructor, lifeguard or cashier. My grandmother also spent as many…or more years at the Capaha Pool, swimming with the Early Birds program. In fact, she swam more than 1,000 miles at that pool….all in the later years of her life….as she didn’t even learn to swim until she was in her 50’s.
While the pool may now be gone, our memories are all still with us. I shared those memories with my husband and children and when friends of mine from that era talk we share our memories from those times. I too got a yellow brick from the main building. I also got a number of pieces of the bottom of the pool with the bright blue paint of the stripes. I took one of those pieces of the pool to my 93 year old grandmother….and she now has it on the table next to her bed. We all had many happy memories at Capaha Pool, I am glad it was there for so many of us.