Bob Mitchell: Popular cooling methods once used in hot weather

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Triple digit temperatures, or at least readings that bumped that level, experienced recently are nothing new in this area.

They are often around for several days during the Dog Days of Summer. Todayís answer to these sweltering times is obviously air conditioning so far was residences or businesses are concerned. Replacing such cooling sources of the past such as fans and water coolers, modern answers to hot weather has also included water parks that are a far cry of the swimming facilities of the past.

Some of those sources of years gone by served their purposes until regulations arrived that those without treatment facilities would no longer be permitted in rural communities.

Two swimming pools

Two of those facilities poplar many years ago were Brock swimming pool and the Roaring River State Park pool.

The Brock spring pool, located at the southeast edge of Cassville on Mineral Springs Road, got its water source from a free-flowing spring. There was a concrete structure with diving facilities and a tower at the deep end of the pool. There were also dressing rooms provided.

Being a spring-fed pool, the water took a little getting used to when first entering, but in the hottest part of a summer day mostly young people used the facility, making the water temperature of little concern.

Roaring River pool, located near the Old Lodge, although small, it was also spring fed as the water come off the Trout rearing pools on the opposite side of a walkway. Some people avoided that pool because of the temperature and possibly fear of disease.

Here too, the spring source of water never let temperatures get warm enough to be comfortable, which didnít seem to bother those having access to the pool.

Both the Brock and Park pools suffered a demise due to modernization toward treated pools.

Bass Lake in the Park

Roaring River provided another swimming and wading source in Bass Lake, which was formed by an earthen dam at the lower portion of the developed park. Here too the water was cold, not having much of a chance to warm during its travel from the parkís huge spring.

After this pool filled with silt, the dam was later opened and let the water return to the stream.

Provided at the lake was a swimming dock, that also gave access to wooden john boats that could be rented for a tour around the lake or to accompany those wanting to swim the length of the lake.

A fast-flowing spillway was a favorite of those choosing to wade the waters for a cooling experience. Some thought the spillway was the main feature of Bass Lake. However, the name was good for crawfish business for anglers that didnít know the difference.

White and Kings rivers

A couple of nearby rivers were sources of swimming, wading and general cooling most of the time in an outing that included a picnic adventure by families or groups of friends. Those days always provided advice that swimmers did not enter the water until an hour had passed from their eating from a well-filled table or picnic.

On the Kings, a spot known as the Jim Couch hole had a good gravel bar, with water deep enough for swimming, and a long rapid that gave a ride for tubers. Toward the end of this ride was a challenge to climb a bluff and sample some cool spring water.

This particular location is at one side of the present Green Shores Subdivision.

A White River location was in the vicinity of the Farwell Bridge that didnít survive the coming of Table Rock Lake. Gatherings of all types during the summer months used the waters of the White for cooling.

At each of the river locations, it wasnít unusual to find ardent fishermen wading away from the gatherings.

Roaring River, near Eagle Rock and the swinging bridge and then close to a log dam further down stream, got a little warmer in this area and were popular spots.

Flat Creek holes

Then there were always the good spots on Flat Creek, easily reached for the town kids without transportation. At that particular time, the creek was free flowing and water temperatures were much more acceptable.

There were even swimming holes titled warm hole, cable hole (There were actually two or three of these) and there were a couple of cannon holes. With the latter, there was history relating to Union Forces during the Civil War losing a cannon in their travel on the Old Wire Road. Neither was ever verified.

A problem with Flat Creek came along during the Dog Days of Summer when many parents were not all that happy about youngsters using those waters. There was even the problem with some fearing there might be a possibility of Polio being connected with certain waters during this particular time.

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 Universityís Regional Media Hall of Fame.

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