Oak Ridge Pool Cross Springs

Oak Ridge Pool Cross Springs

In the early 1940s, the unincorporated community of Robertsville, Tennessee began to disappear from the maps having been quickly depopulated by the Army Corps of Engineers. An important crossroads since pioneer days, the space occupied by this community was needed to secure war time facilities being constructed for the Clinton Engineering Works (CEW) - the code name for the Anderson County portion of the Manhattan Project site.

The original plan for the Secret City centered around the commercial district along Broadway at Jackson Square. The Corps would soon learn that more housing would be needed. Duplexes and an additional commercial district, Grove Center, were constructed at the site of the old Robertsville community.

A portion of the former Anderson County School at Robertsville, originally constructed as a gymnasium but later converted to be used as an auditorium, is still in use by Oak Ridge City Schools. Its colonial style architecture stands in sharp contrast to the adjoining main wing of the 1950s era Robertsville Middle School.

Most likely Robertsville evolved as a crossroads because of the Cross Spring, a particularly large spring, where travelers would stop to water their horses. Today, East Tennesseans flock to the Atomic City to bathe in the waters of the Oak Ridge Municipal Swimming Pool, fed by the same spring from which early travelers watered their horses.

First time visitors to the Oak Ridge Municipal Pool may be surprised to find themselves greeted by a penguin named Bosco, a whimsical creature constructed of steel that has served as a trash can since the late 1960s or early 1970s. A Municipal Pool tradition, he is well cared for and protected from the elements during the off season when the pool is closed. Steeped in tradition, each of the life guard stands also have names. These include Lightening, Head, Baby Board, Exile, Chlorine, Baby, Pointless, Little Pool, and Front. As you might expect, Exile is on the far end of the pool off to itself. Additional lifeguard stations, designated High and Low, are situated on the island near the center of the pool.

Perhaps the army set the tempo years ago; because, the operational procedures go well beyond efficiency to bordering on precision. Every fifteen minutes the guard stationed at “Head” sounds a horn and the guard rotation begins. Various taps of the button that activates the horn are also used to notify the staff of an emergency or a situation requiring the attention of the head guard as well as closing time.

Enforcement of the rules that keep everyone safe have always been fair and consistent. The rules themselves have changed little since my own childhood. Safety is always an overriding issue.

Throughout East Tennessee, most public swimming pools will be closing long before temperatures begin to drop. Local school superintendents and the boards that appoint them are directly responsible for the abbreviated allotment of time in which area public swimming pools are available for our enjoyment as the opening of the new school year triggers the closing of the pools. Because most pools are staffed by students, there is no other option other than to close for the season when the school year begins.

Prior to the proliferation of the air-conditioned school building, launching a new school year in early to mid-August would not have been possible in our area. Do school administrators really believe that the additional weeks in the classroom in front of the test will produce significantly higher scores? Do they not realize after years of repeated high electricity bills and cooling system failures that such results are to be expected? Perhaps some lessons remain unlearned.

Although Oak Ridge City Schools are back in session, the Municipal Swimming Pool will be open on a limited schedule through August 18 depending on public participation. More information is available from the city’s recreation department at (865) 425-3450.

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Thank you so much
Union County Sheriff's Office
130 veteran’s street suite B Maynardville Tennessee 37807
Phone 865-992-5212
Fax 865-992-2349

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