Augusta residents began expressing a desire for a city swimming pool in the early 1940s. Minnie Leonard was one of those people who thought a pool was needed and through her efforts, generations of Augustan have found relief in long, hot Kansas summers.
Minnie’s husband, Hugh and his brother Frank Leonard lived in the 100 block of E. 7th. Hugh owned the two properties where the brothers and their wives lived. Hugh also owned a building downtown. Neither of the Leonards had children, a circumstance that Minnie regretted deeply.
When Hugh died, Minnie created a will that she hoped would benefit the children of Augusta. The will directed that when she died, her brother-in-law Frank would have the use of the property until his death. Then the title to the property would be vested in the City of Augusta. The income from the properties would go into a trust fund, which hopefully, would help pay for a swimming pool.
By 1941, both Minnie and Frank had died and the title to the property went to the City of Augusta.
The City fathers weren’t anxious to be in the real estate business and they attempted to sell the holding. At the time, however, property values were low, so the decision was made to hold onto the inheritance.
Minnie’s dream of a swimming pool came another step closer in February of 1945, when the Leonard properties were sold for a total of $19,725. Another four years would pass before the pool became a reality.
Along with the funds from Minnie and land donated by John W. Moyle, a leading commercial and industrial developer of Augusta, the Municipal Swimming Pool was constructed at the corner of Kelly and Dearborn.
The construction of the pool took considerable more time then contemplated, but the city councilmen and others who inspected the pool before opening, were satisfied that Augusta had a first-class modern pool.
The pool’s capacity was 180,000 gallons and the water re-circulated every six hours. The shallow end was 39 inches deep and it was 10 feet deep at the maximum depth.
The long-awaited opening day was Saturday, June 10, 1950.
Pool manager was Vernon Hayes and rates were 14 cents for children up and including those who had not completed eighth grade, and 35 cents for adults.
Hours were 1 to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 1 to 8 p.m. on Sunday. Swimming suits and towels were also available.
Through the years, the City of Augusta has diligently maintained and renovated the pool for local families to continue enjoying the wonderful experience of spending their summers at the Augusta City Pool.