Yes, it was summertime, and even if the living wasn’t so easy, there was always “The Town Pool” where folks could gather to cool their heels. Built in the mid 1940's, Bill Coker (Mac’s father, who was an employee at Union Camp Corporation, which played a huge role in bringing this amenity to our area), oversaw the construction of the pool.
The pool featured three diving boards of varying heights: deck level, 1 meter, and 3 meters. It also had both male and female dressing room and shower areas and a front desk, which extended from the front to the back of the building. Atop the building was a deck where parents could sit and watch their children, folks could lay in the sun to catch a few rays… or, when no one was looking, brave teen-aged boys would be daring enough to dive from into the pool. (We won’t mention any names Jim Councill and Tom Pearson!) A kiddie pool sat next to the big pool.
In the summer of 1956, the town pool became a part of the YMCA, an organization that Bob Ray,who served as the first president, and Martin Pearson, who served as the first director from 1956 - 1975, were very instrumental in bringing to Franklin. Tim Pearson, Martin’s son, became the second director and served from 1975 - 2001, when Pat Newman moved here to take that position.
Tom Pearson recalls his time spent there with great fondness. “An awful lot of kids learned to swim there over the years. It was a great gathering spot… a place for kids to go in the summer. Most days would find anywhere from 150-200 kids enjoying the pool and we would have 3-4 lifeguards on duty.”
You may own a peice of Franklin's history by purchasing "The Town Pool" 2014 Christmas Ornament for $20 at the Downtown Franklin Visitors' Center located at 120 South Main Street, Franklin, VA 23851, or call 757-562-6900 for availability and/or more information.