This is the fourth in a series based on my great-aunt Velma Davis Woodring’s scrapbook that she kept during her freshman year at Harrisonburg Teachers College (now James Madison University).
In the early 1920s, HTC President Samuel Duke had been concerned about discipline of students living away from campus, and the student government had been concerned about maintaining loyalty to the school, especially in the summer. When Velma began college in 1924, summer programs were in their infancy. For the first time, an outdoor swimming pool was provided, completed just in time for Velma and her classmates.
|Velma is the girl in front on the right.|
scanned from Madison College: The First 50 Years
by Raymond C. Dingledine, Jr.
It was built in a swell behind Cleveland Cottage, a farmhouse that came with the property which had been purchased specifically for the development of a women’s college. The Cottage in the early years housed the infirmary and classrooms, and later it provided housing for a few faculty and students.
The swimming pool was financed through Summer School fees.
|Unknown, Bill Porter, Velma Davis|
Games and competitions during summer were part of the plan to maintain discipline and build school spirit. The swimming pool got a big workout toward that end, as did the hockey field, tennis courts, basketball and volleyball courts, and golf course.
|Velma is third from the left|
In 1927, an indoor pool was officially opened in the newly constructed Reed Hall, later renamed Keezell Hall. This is the same pool where I took Beginning Swimming in 1971. When I was a student, 4 physical education credits were required for graduation: 1 swimming, 1 dance, 1 beginning level sport, and 1 intermediate level sport. To give you an idea of the close quarters of this brick tiled pool room, here is the best photo I can find scanned from my yearbook:
|Keezell Hall pool |
scanned from the 1970 Bluestone
I remember counting the lights overhead with each required lap while doing the back stroke or frog-kicks.
Thank-you Lord Baby Jesus that I took my swimming class in the Keezell pool before Godwin Hall was ready with its Olympic-size pool and stadium seating for 800.
named for Dorothy Savage, a popular
physical education professor
who never got in the water.
That was one intimidating swimming pool that has come a long way from the little outdoor pool in the swell.