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Barton Springs and Deep Eddy

Austin History Center

Silent | 1940s

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  •  Lions Municipal Golf Course, "Muny", in operation since 1936 and Austin's first public golf course 
  •  Deep Eddy Bathhouse 
  •  Deep Eddy Pool 
  •  Barton Springs Pool 
  •  Pavilion at Little Stacy Park 
  •  Lions Municipal Golf Course 
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This film, made by Austin Parks and Recreation in the 1940s, documents activities at Deep Eddy Pool and Barton Springs Pool. Scenes of children swimming, playing badminton and outdoor games, running races, and performing plays and puppet shows at an outdoor theater at Little Stacy Park are included. Footage of the park landscapes, pools, and bathhouses are also included. The bathhouse at Barton Springs was new construction at the time of this film and was modeled after Deep Eddy’s bathhouse, which was built as part of FDR’s Works Progress Administration.
Within Zilker Park's 358 acres lies one of the crown jewels of Austin - Barton Springs Pool. Three acres in size, the pool is fed from underground springs and is, on average, 68 degrees year-round. Over the years, Barton Springs Pool has drawn people from all walks of life, from legislators who have concocted state laws there to free-spirited, topless sunbathers who turned heads in the 1970s. Robert Redford learned to swim at the pool when he was five years old while visiting his mother's relative in Austin. Today, Barton Springs still attracts a diverse crowd of people. (from the City of Austin website)
Deep Eddy Pool is located in Eilers Park in Central Austin. On the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, Deep Eddy is the oldest swimming pool in Texas. It began as a deep swimming hole in the Colorado River, then was bought by wealthy businessman A.J. Eilers in 1915. Eilers transformed the swimming hole into a pool with several types of diving boards, one 50 feet high, slides, and a zip line across the pool. Eilers advertised Deep Eddy as resort where swimmers could also enjoy musicians, a Ferris Wheel, and even a mule and rider who would dive off the high board into the pool. Despite the resort’s success in the 1920s, the Eilers family was hit hard by the Great Depression, and in 1935, Deep Eddy was sold to the City of Austin. Almost immediately after the city’s purchase, the Great Flood of 1935 wiped out most of the resort construction, and the resulting reconstruction is the Deep Eddy that still stands today. Included in that reconstruction is the bathhouse that was built as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration. The bathhouse and pool reopened as a public city park in 1936.