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June 2015 Edition
Focus Topic: Pools, Pools, Everywhere

Zender’s Splash Village Featured on Fox 2

Fox 2 News Headlines

The Untold Story of the Belle Isle Fountain’s Donor

“For the enjoyment of the people and for the adornment of his native city. James Scott bequeathed to Detroit his fortune to be used in the construction of this fountain. Erected MCMXXIII (1923). From the good deed of one comes benefit to many.”

Good old Jim. What a guy. The magnificent fountain that bears his name, the jewel of Belle Isle, was national news when it was constructed in 1911. The New York Times said, “This is the story of a man who led a practically blameless life for eighty years, according to the preponderance of testimony, as blameless as that of the average man at least, who loved his home, his family, his friends, and his city…”

Yet, in Detroit, Pastor F. D. Leete was not alone in feeling that a statue, “about two-and-a-half inches high” would be a more suitable monument for James Scott. Years went by while people debated whether Scott was worthy of the fountain. Scott, who inherited his fortune from his father, was best known for his love of gambling, womanizing, lawsuits, and practical jokes. However, both his friends and enemies (he had a lot of enemies) admired his storytelling gifts.

One of Scott’s stories was recounted in a newspaper story over 100 years ago. In the story, a group of friends carried a fresh corpse to a bar and told the bartender that the disguised dead man wanted to buy a round for all of them. After a few such rounds, Read the rest of this entry »

Oldest Municipal Pool in the USA (and it’s in Lansing)

Lunch & Learn Seminar Answers Questions About Chlorine Generation



Join Aquatic Source for a lunch & learn session on ChlorKing Nex-Gen Saline Systems!!

See the equipment installed and working and talk with the end users first hand!!

June 25th, 2015 @ 11:30 a.m.
St. Johns High School, Room 201
501 W. Sickels Street
St. Johns, MI 48879

Lunch will be provided as well as a brief presentation by Rob Kowlakowski of ChlorKing & a tour of the pump room

Please R.S.V.P. By June 15th Call Bill Babcock at 248-880-0015 or email

The Longest Floating Structure in the World is About to Hit the Ocean

by Laura Willard

In 2016, “the longest floating structure in world history” will be placed in the ocean.

Don’t worry — it’s not another super yacht or party barge or some other contraption that will further pollute the ocean.

Nope, this is a good thing.

It’s called The Ocean Cleanup, and it’s a 1.2-mile-long system designed to collect and remove plastic from the ocean.

For two years, it will hang out in the ocean hopefully to begin undoing what we’ve done for decades: polluted the heck out of the water with plastic trash.

Image by The Ocean Cleanup.

It’s basically a stationary array of barriers that uses the ocean’s natural currents to collect the plastic at a central location.

When I first wrote about The Ocean Cleanup a year ago, I thought Read the rest of this entry »

Michigan Doggy Daycare Throws a Pool Party

The staff at a dog daycare center in Michigan had the great idea to throw a pool party for its four-legged customers in the summer heat. Then they had the even better idea to capture the event on camera and share it with the rest of the world. I am grateful for it!

As you are about to see, the dogs at the daycare center are enjoying their pool party every bit as much as their two-legged friends do.

You may not be surprised to learn that the video has become an instant internet sensation, having been seen more than 390,000 times so far.

This organizer of this pool party is the Lucky Puppy pet service in Maybee, Michigan, which has thrown quite a few of them for its four-legged charges so far this summer.

The pool has been constructed earlier this year and just in time for the dogs to take a dip in it this summer.


A Dog Daycare Center In Michigan Threw A Pool Party For Its Customers. Boy, Did They Have Fun...

Read the rest of this entry »

The Ultimate Backyard Escape

Beloved Swim Coach Passes Away

The entire Michigan pool community was saddened by the news of the passing of Mike O’Conner on May 29th. The following is an excerpt from his obituary.

“Former swim coach at Oakland University, Fitzgerald Swim Club and Grosse Pointe Swim Club, he has been head coach at Pointe Aquatics, a USS team, and head coach for both the girls and the boys swim teams at Grosse Pointe North since the mid – 80′s. He served on the board of the Michigan High School Swim Coaches Association and was a member of the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association.

Mike once explained that he was offended when addressed by the generic moniker “coach” because he believed that his relationship with his swimmers went beyond a mere job; it was a far more personal commitment to each of them. He nurtured and mentored hundreds of swimmers, many of whom rose to national and international prominence under his guidance, and inspired many who are established coaches today.”

Click here to read the entire obituary and leave a message of condolence for his family.

Meet Detroit’s Prewar Indoor Swimming Pools

By JC Reindl, Detroit Free Press

In Detroit, it takes a dose of luck for a building to last 70-plus years in good physical shape. The odds of survival are even narrower for a building’s original indoor swimming pool.

As a new generation of developers looks to rehabilitate more of the city’s crumbling buildings and dream up new ones, these aquatic vestiges of old Detroit can seem the urban equivalent of rare archeological finds.

Old pools tended to get covered up and filled in. Or at least drained of water and made into storage. For subsequent generations of building owners, a mid-winter swim wasn’t worth all the maintenance and operating costs.

The Free Press recently toured a handful of them — some usable, some absolutely not, and one that was famously never completed at the Masonic Temple and instead used as a training pit for circus lions and tigers.

Several pools sing with elaborate tilework and boast of the big industrial money of the early 20th Century. One prewar example survives inside a Russian-style steam room complex right out of the movies.

Other discoveries include a long-forgotten 1920s artist rendering for a second unfinished swimming pool in the Detroit Masonic Temple.

Lucas McGrail, a city planner and architectural historian, said Detroiters indeed have an aquatic heritage. Along with a plethora of pools, the city once had numerous water-themed events and festivals, such as the 1912 “Cadillaqua” carnival commemorating Detroit’s founding by Cadillac.

“Detroit had a tremendous amount of that because, one, we were rolling in the dough and two, because of our close proximity to a fresh water supply, people never saw it as a luxury,” he said.

McGrail said a box of blueprints for about 220 old Detroit public schools was recently discovered in a city storage room. He was surprised by the number of junior and senior high schools with indoor swimming pools, and how there were often separate pools for girls and boys. The pools also were not labeled pools in the designs, but “plunge rooms.”

1921 blueprint for the High School of Commerce

Fortunately, there are a few surviving local specimens of the vintage pre-World War II indoor pool, several in private clubs. Read the rest of this entry »