Dive, dive, dive! Creek once hosted swimming pool

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Unfortunately, there aren’t any photos floating around to support this item, so deploy your imagination to fathom what this must have looked like when idea man F.D. Applegate with the YMCA, the local Rotary Club, area businesses and others conceived to build a swimmin’ hole in our own Mill Creek.

’Twas back in 1924 when a board dam was built across the creek at the east end of the Colville Street bridge. The “community swimming pool” backed water up 400 feet or so to the Spokane Street bridge, reported a July 13, 1924, article in the Walla Walla Bulletin.

It ranged in depth between 1 to 4 feet and featured two bath houses and a board walk with steps leading to the water’s edge.

The dam was thought to be finished on July 11, but “sometime during the night, however, the dirt foundation was washed away and yesterday morning (July 12, Saturday) it was found necessary to make (the) dam completely of wood.”

By that afternoon, they let children take the first plunge.

“Considerable debris, consisting mostly of leaves and twigs, were in the water yesterday but this condition will not be found hereafter.”

“Open to all persons at all times,” the article noted that the Parks and Civic Club would supervise girls using the pool.

Some folks suggested the pool could be used as an ice skating rink in the winter. “This matter, of course, would need to be discussed later.”

This pool existed prior to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project that turned the creek into a concrete-lined channel to prevent flooding in the city.

Charlie Woodruff writes in “Mill Creek Floods: History and Hazards,” that the creek suffered major floods in March 1931, December 1964 and February 1996, all during Chinook weather conditions, which can rapidly melt snow and cause flooding.

“The 1931 flood was particularly devastating because Mill Creek flowed through the streets of downtown Walla Walla. This flood spurred the construction of the Mill Creek Project through Walla Walla, for the purpose of flood control to protect the city from another devastating flood.”

The Corps completed the project in 1942.

Thanks to from Joe Drazan at www.wallawalladrazanphotos.blogspot.com/ who shares old clippings, advertisements, photos and other historical fragments of interest.


The Rotary Foundation’s Group Study Exchange team from Croatia will be in Milton-Freewater this spring, according to a report from Robby Robbins, a member of the Milton-Freewater Rotary Club. Four young business professionals and a Rotarian team leader will be there May 19-23 as part of a district visit. The Milton-Freewater group was tapped as one of eight clubs to host the Croatian team.

The cultural and vocational exchange opportunity is for for businesspeople and professionals ages 25-40 who are in the early stages of their careers. The teams receive foundation travel grants to exchange visits in paired areas of different countries.

For four to six weeks, teams experience the host country’s culture and institutions, observe how their vocations are practiced abroad, develop personal and professional relationships, and exchange ideas, according to www. rotary.org.

The group also heard from Walla Wallan John Junke, Walla Walla Sweets Baseball Team director of ticket sales since December 2009.

Some high-profile baseball players started their careers in Walla Walla, John said, including Ozzie Smith, Tony Gwynn, Kurt Russell and Nyjer Morgan, who played at WWCC. The Sweets team is in its fourth year here.

This summer players are expected from the University of Southerna California, University of California, Universities of California-Los Angeles and -Irvine, Washington State University and other big programs.

Players stay with host families while here and continue their scholarships while playing ball. Primarily they develop better skills and stay healthy in order to continue into the big leagues when they are eligible to graduate from college, he said.

The Sweets will play a full season of 33 home games against 10 other teams in the West Coast League.

On June 1, the Sweets will host a pre-season fundraising game with local firefighters playing against local police officers. Opening night is June 5 against the Bend Elks. July 3 will present one of several very special event nights, honoring all service personnel who attend, with fireworks launched after the game. The final game of the home season will be Aug. 7 and the Sweets will wrap up the 2013 season with six games on the road.

An array of ticket options are available, with season tickets priced for seating in five areas. Other packages are priced for 17 games, 12 games and eight games. Party packages are available for special events in the Sweet Spot, presented by Key Technology.

For available date and more information, call John at 509-522-2255, or send an e-mail to john@wallawallasweets.com.

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at annieeveland@wwub.com or 526-8313.

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