The city of Kalispell?s Bruckhauser Pool, completed in 1937, will see its last swim season in 2003.

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From the time the Bruckhauser Pool opened in 1937 (above and below), the people of Kalispell have enjoyed their summer swims. Beginning next year, they?ll have a new, modern facility to visit.

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According to Lou Bain, a native Kalispell resident, a woman by the name of W.Q. Conway was the driving force to get the pool built in Woodland Park. She approached Mayor J.P. Bruckhauser with the idea and, after two years of effort, the mayor got the $80,000 project off the ground.

The pool opened with a 30-piece band concert on Friday, July 3, 1937. Three lifeguards were on duty. In newspaper articles at the time, Tom Richardson, a high school teacher and the pool?s first manager, estimated that 2,500 people used the facility within the first four days.

The pool measured 75 by 150 feet, ranged in depth from 3 feet 3 to 9 feet 3, and held 452,000 gallons of water. There were two 14-foot diving boards.

Back then, the cost for a dip was 10 cents a day per adult (including a basket), or $3 per husband and wife for a season pass. A basket, suit and towel cost 25 cents (15 cents for the suit only and 10 cents for just the towel). Wool suits were all the rage and cost 98 cents for a man?s, $2.98 for a woman?s and $1.59 for a child?s. Admission today costs $2 per swim session, or $80 for a family season pass.

Bruckhauser Pool was renovated twice: once in the 1960s and again in 1984. Unfortunately, after 66 years of operation, wear and tear has taken its toll. It is truly one of the last old-fashioned swimming pools operating in Montana.

The city of Kalispell will be constructing a new aquatics facility, set to open for the 2004 summer swim season.