Roosevelt Pool

Roosevelt Pool
Remnants of Roosevelt Pool, February 21, 2015

It is only fitting to begin the daily post with some current and past history combined. In mid-February saw the demolition of one of Susanville’s notable landmarks, the Roosevelt Pool. It is part of the effort to build a new swimming pool adjacent to it. The pool it should be noted had set idle for nearly a decade when it was condemned in December 2004.

How the pool came to be is an interesting one. In 1912, the Lassen Weekly Mail announced that Lassen County had purchased some property near the proposed railroad depot site for a new hospital and cemetery. However, that was not the case. Yet, the county realized it had to seek a new location for its hospital and cemetery.

On June 1,1914, Lassen County purchased a 30 acre parcel adjacent to Richmond Road from Thomas and Minnie Ramsey for $1,000. On June 2, 1915, the voters approved two bond measures for a new courthouse and hospital. Shortly thereafter, construction of a new hospital began on the Ramsey parcel, which was completed in 1916. The county had given consideration to open a new cemetery adjacent to Richmond Road, that now consist of the old Roosevelt School. However, for reasons unknown that was abandoned and in 1919 the county established a new cemetery (Lassen) on Chestnut Street.

Due to the rapid growth of the early 1920s caused by the establishment of the lumber mills of the Fruit Growers Supply Company and Lassen Lumber & Box Company put a tremendous strain on the Susanville schools. In a four-year period, three new schools were built in Susanville. The last one was Roosevelt built in 1925-26. The Roosevelt School remained in operation until 1967. Since that time the county has housed various offices in the former school building.

For a number of years discussions were held about establishing a municipal swimming pool, but was hampered due to lack of funds. However, in 1920, Sarah Winchester donated a small parcel along the Susan River and adjacent to Richmond Road to be used as a public swimming hole. The Monticola Club contributed to the cause and built changing rooms. It was used on an infrequent basis, and health officials were concerned about the water quality, especially in the summer months with low water levels.

In 1934, Frank O’Kelly was informed that the Fruit Growers Supply Company was in the process to dispose of its ranch property north of Susanville, which included Bagwell Springs. O’Kelly proposed the property should be developed as a park, including a golf course and a municipal pool. However, Fruit Growers had other thoughts and sold the property to another party. It should be noted that this property today is Susanville Ranch Park.

Roosevelt Pool
Roosevelt Pool, circa 1940

O’Kelly continued with his crusade for a municipal pool. In 1936, Lassen County submitted a proposal to the government’s Works Progress Administration for a swimming pool. On October 22, 1936, the County received word that funding for the pool had been approved in the amount of $22,858. It was hoped to have the pool completed in 1937, but delays hampered construction and was not completed until 1938.


8 thoughts on “Roosevelt Pool”

  1. Roosevelt Pool was my ‘home away from home’ growing up.
    Aunt Bertice (Hunt) Grismore told about swimming in the pool when she was home on break from college. I have a lamp my father made in the ‘shop.’ I ate many a lunch upstairs, played basket ball in the winter when the pool was drained.
    (I would like to know which Sarah Winchester? I find a Sara PIckard married to Lorenzo Elliot Winchester…..with no dates)
    My 8th grade graduation picture is in front of the pool.

    Thanks so much, Tim.
    Claudia W. Oliver

  2. From learning to swim in the pool, to taking lifesaving there, to having part of our senior all-night party there, Roosevelt Pool was a part of my growing up. Great memories!! So I, too, want to know who was Sarah Winchester!

  3. My dad, Bob Pace, operated a well driller for Lassen Lumber and Box in the 1930s, and drilled the well for the Rosovelt Pool. As it turned out, the water from the new well was hot, and had to be cooled.

  4. Sarah Ann Pickard was born in Susanville on 25 February 1863. She married widower, Lorenzo Elliott Winchester on 13 April 1884 at Susanville. They had a ranch, then south of town along the Susan River. Most of this was sold to the Lassen Townsite Company in 1911, which was subdivided into lots—the town’s largest subdivision to date. Portions of the property later became the millsites of Fruit Growers and Lassen Lumber. There was one parcel along the Susan River she did not sale that was to the west of Richmond Road near the railroad depot. It was at that point where the river makes a bend, is the one acre plot she deed for a swimming hole. In the 1920s, she subdivided a section into 92 lots and created Plum, Juniper, Cypress, and Elm Streets and officially known as the Winchester Addition. She passed away in Susanville on 26 September 1953.

  5. I attended Roosevelt school in 1953 and 1954. I remember the shop under the pool where I took woodshop and rock grinding. I remember Mr. Rummel who operated that part of the school.

  6. Back in 1957 I attended eighth grade, taught by Mr. J.K. Jeffries, on the second floor of Roosevelt School. I enjoyed the cafeteria as well as swimming in Roosevelt Pool, where I took SCUBA instruction. My time at Roosevelt was indeed good!

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