Swimming pools have a long and fascinating history, beginning over 5000 years ago. That is when the first known pool, called “the great bath” was built in the city of Mohenjo-daro, Pakistan. It was built entirely of closely fitted bricks that were plastered together and then covered with a thick layer of tar.
Evidence of swimming activities date back to at least 2500 B.C. Swimming was extremely popular in ancient Egypt, where ancient relics and Egyptian hieroglyphics depict swimming.
Ancient Greeks and Romans also have a long history of swimming pools. They became very prosperous during this time. With this increase in the standard of living, came luxuries like pools. During this time period pools were built all over for many different reasons. They were used for bathing, religious ceremonies, health, socializing, and admired simply for their beauty. These pools were often ornate and surrounded by lush gardens, marble columns and statues in the roman tradition. The emperors of Greece and Rome had extravagant pools filled with live fish.
In both Greece and Rome swimming was considered a necessary part of boy’s education. At this time pools were also used by the Greeks and Romans to physically train for battle.
In the first century B.C. a rich Roman lord named Gaius Maecenas, who was considered a patron of the arts, built the first heated, private swimming pool.
Around 300 A.D. the first known public swimming pools were built in Rome. The greatest of these pools was over 900,000 square feet! It was heated by fires underneath the floors of the pool, and the heat was then pumped up through the walls.
As history advanced, the first documented indoor swimming pool was built in England in 1862. Competitive swimming was first introduced in England during the 1800′s. At that time, several indoor swimming pools were built in London and used by the National Swimming Society for swimming competitions.
Then in 1907 the White Star Line introduced the first swimming pool on an ocean liner, The Adriatic. A swimming pool was also built on the Titanic.
One of the first in-ground swimming pools in the United States was the Deep Eddy Pool in Austin, Texas. Deep Eddy began as just a swimming hole in the Colorado River. Cold springs bubbled out of the river banks and people swam in the river where a large boulder formed an eddy. In 1915 the land surrounding the swimming hole, was purchased by A.J. Eilers, Sr. He proceeded to build the concrete pool, and then a resort called the “Deep Eddy Bathing Beach”, which featured cabins, camping, food, and activities. Today it is still a popular swimming pool operated by the City of Austin. Deep Eddy Pool is also listed as a historic landmark on the National Register of Historic Places.
Swimming pools did not become common in America until after World War II. As Hollywood movies became increasingly popular, the glamorous Hollywood lifestyle, with a pool as a status symbol, became sought after. As swimming pools evolved they became more and more within reach of the average consumer. American families began to realize how much entertainment, enjoyment, and yes, “status” a swimming pool could bring them.
While earlier pools were made of concrete, then gunite, and fiberglass, vinyl liners have really changed the pool industry. They have made owning a pool much more affordable. Today pools are available in a myriad of materials and shapes to beautify and add value to your home, while providing endless hours of enjoyment.
There are also many types of pools to meet your needs, such as lap pools, and pools made for swimming in place.
Whirlpool tubs first became popular in America during the 1960s. They have evolved into the luxurious home spas of today. They are generally made of acrylic that looks like marble. They are heated; come in many sizes, and can include various types of jet nozzles and seating. Many people enjoy having both a spa and a swimming pool.
It is estimated that there are more than 10 million swimming pools in the United States today. They have been through quite an evolution, but after 5000 years it looks like they are here to stay!