For over half a century,
1950-2001, the Tooele Memorial Pool served the citizens
of Tooele City as a place to learn, play, exercise, and
compete. The pool was named in honor of Tooele's War Veterans
who paid the supreme sacrifice while defending their country's
In 1948, Tooele City and the
Tooele City School District presented a plan to voters and
a $100,000 bond was approved. Ground was broken on July
15, 1949, with City Manager Dale James serving as project
manager. The $130,000 facility, which included the addition
of two outside restrooms, opened on August 14, 1950.
The pool was 44 feet wide
and 75 feet long, with graduated depth from 3 to 9 feet.
It featured a two sided basketball bank board, two diving
boards, and a 3-meter metal platform. The popular "high
dive" was removed in a 1975 remodeling project.
Spectators viewed the pool
from the east end in a balcony. From 1951 until the 1975
remodeling, a wooden 'catwalk' balcony hung over the length
of the pool. The pool was originally heated with a coal-fired
boiler that was later converted to natural gas.
When the pool was opened it
was recognized as the finest aquatics facility in the Mountain
West. Tooele hosted several major events in the 1950's and
1960's, including junior and senior national Intermountain
AAU swimming and diving championships, Pan American synchronized
swimming qualifications, and nine Utah state high school
Under the direction of Coach
Leigh Pratt, Tooele's swimming
programs flourished during these early years and were
recognized as the best in the Intermountain region. Tooele
High won nine consecutive state championships between 1955
and 1963 as well as several gold trophies in the annual
Intermountain AAU Championships.
The Tooele Pool was more than
a training ground for championship swimmers. Thousands of
children learned and enhanced their swimming skills in American
Red Cross classes, Boy Scouts earned merit badges, and citizens
kept in physical shape. But perhaps most important, it was
a place for children and families to have fun. Although
the Tooele Memorial Pool has been replaced, countless memories
will linger forever in the hearts of all those who entered
Leigh Pratt Aquatic Center,
designed to fit within the setting of Tooele's historic
City Park, replaces a 52 year old facility and demonstrates
the city's renewed commitment to aquatics and recreation.
The old facility shut down in 2001 as a result
of multiple closures each year due to failures of antiquated
systems. The new center not only overcomes these problems,
but also provides a state-of-the-art facility for years
to come. In fact, the aquatic center is designed for current
use as well as future expansion to accommodate additional
recreation components, as funding becomes available.
The new facility offers aquatic
amenities to residents of Tooele and surrounding communities,
as well as to Tooele County School District swim teams.
Features include a 25-yard, eight-lane competition/lap pool
with spectator se