Bob Mitchell: Dipping in Flat Creek swimming holes

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

There always have been those who believed, so long as Cassville has included a swimming pool in her municipal services, that closing about Labor Day or before, was entirely too early.

Just as we are experiencing this year, there is plenty of hot weather to warrant having a pool available over the holiday and perhaps even so long as hot weather persists.

Possible uses on into the season might include a broad program of swimming instruction or life-saving procedures. After all, in this land of lakes and rivers, it is more important than some might think to have youths indoctrinated in water safety and swimming skills.

And, there are three and possibly four school districts within easy distance of the Water Complex that sessions could be scheduled for various age groups providing a very worthwhile service. Sure it would cost someone something, but you know, that’s the purpose of having facilities such as those located in the South Park, to provide service. To this I might add, for the most possible length of time in a season.

Flat Creek swimming

Back in the days of Flat Creek running free, there were sufficient swimming holes from the Galyn Bridge to near the Black Schoolhouse that there was no worry about a place to take a dip when temperatures began to rise.

First of these was behind the Olsen home where a good rope swing was in place to permit entry into the water. Further down stream was the Cable Hole, possibly the most popular of the up-stream swimming places. At this hole there was a cable on which to swing out over the water and provide a splashing cannon ball. There were shallows above and below the swimming area in which many Cassville youths took their first swimming strokes. And, to the best of my knowledge, no girls were ever permitted in this swimming area.

Creek access

The reason for that last statement was probably due to the access of the pool of water. There was a gate in the fence near Arthur Salyer’s filling station, which was located about where Ramey’s King Food Market is now. This was useable, as was the path across the field, just so long as swimmers either went over the gate carefully or were positive they closed it as they passed through.

Requirement for the closing was to make sure Tweety Black’s cows didn’t get out. Mr. Black would walk the cows twice daily from the field to his home on Mill Street to complete the milking cycle.

There was an adequate path across the field, made jointly by swimmers and bovines that permitted crossing barefoot since some seldom wore shoes in those days, especially this time of the year. A longstanding problem in this area was being careful to not step on tumblebugs and their cargo of green cow pile.

Warm Hole

Just a short float down stream was Warm Hole, so named because of the temperature, which was slightly warmer than other areas. This hole of water was virtually dead, little movement from shoals above or below. This one was also a good place to catch small catfish, often trapped in milk cans placed there for this exact purpose.

Cable Hole

Just above the old Reunion Grounds, near an old quarry, there was another Cable Hole, mostly used by residents of the north part of town. Yes, there was that somewhat division in town in those days.

Cannon Hole

At the bend of Flat Creek at the Reunion Grounds, there was another good hole, one that was usually bridged during events to afford access to the grounds. This one had a high bank at the edge that provided a jumping access to the water.

Near the area where Cassville’s wastewater plant now enters Flat Creek there was a Cannon Hole, although it was never investigated for a lost Civil War cannon as were other areas. This was a good swimming hole until a landowner cleared a bunch of trees and dumped them in the water to stop swimming parties there.

Black Hole

Further down stream was the Black Hole, not all that good due to the number of leaches in that water. A smoker was handy if you swam there.


Here we are in a new month. The first of next week will be Labor Day. It will be unlike any in the memory of most of us, which requires cautions to be observed unlike any before.

If fishing is in your plans, best days listed are: Sept. 2nd, 11th, 12th, 28th, and 29. Good days are, 20th, 26th and 27th.

The only problem on the horizon for the holiday has the Almanac calling for possible showers, which might not be for everyone. That pattern could exist for additional days in the month, depending on what weather comes out of the Rockies.

Bob Mitchell is the former editor and publisher of the Cassville Democrat. He is a 2017 inductee to both the Missouri Press Association Hall of Fame and Missouri Southern State University’s Regional Media Hall of Fame.