Cannonball!!! If you’ve ever belted these words from the top of your lungs and know what the phrase “Marco, Polo” means, boy, do I have a place for you. A place where you can do a back flip straight into Amarillo or a belly flop onto Fort Worth. A place where you can float on your back through the Hill Country or swim the entire Rio Grande in less than 10 minutes. Want to play a volleyball game between College Station and San Antonio? At The Texas Pool, a Texas-shaped oasis in the middle of a quiet neighborhood in Plano, you can do all those things in one summer afternoon, just like thousands of other Plano people have done since 1961.
Back in 1960, there just wasn’t much to Plano yet. Neighborhoods were still starting to pop up, and our modern Recreation Centers wouldn’t be opened for many years to come. With the opening of the Texas Instruments plant nearby in Dallas, folks were relocating to Texas for work, and many found that the quaint little suburb of Plano fit their needs perfectly. The Hunt Family, who owned some land in Plano, brilliantly realized that the one thing Plano lacked for all those newcomers was a community pool where families could take their children to swim and socialize with other families. Thus, a pool shaped like our mighty state was built, and generations of Plano citizens have incredible memories of summers spent playing, laughing, socializing and swimming at the Texas Pool.
The Texas Pool opened to much fanfare and excitement. Families stood in line overnight to secure a coveted summer membership, as they were limited. People came from as far away as Waxahachie to gain membership and swim in those days. Janet Moos, who sits on the Board of Directors for The Texas Pool Foundation, adds that the saltwater pool became “a home for families and kids during the summer.” Texas Representative Brian McCall spent his summers at the pool, along with many others like Seth Brewer and his sister Molly who both swam and lifeguarded in the 1980’s. Seth’s son Corbin continues the lifeguarding tradition today. The pool served as a place for kids to safely spend their summers, for families to socialize, and for the community at large to gather and get to know one another.
Today, The Texas Pool is registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Every dime members pay goes toward pool maintenance and the cost of American Red Cross certified lifeguards. Most of the Texas Pool lifeguards are Water Safety Instructor certified as well and offer swim lessons. Pete Calabrese is in charge of the team of 14 guards this season. They are all highly trained in CPR and using AED equipment, which was donated to the pool by Ann Nunnally in honor of her son William.
The board is in the process of gathering documents to create an application for recognition as a National Historic Landmark. It’s a lengthy and arduous task for the volunteer boards that run the pool. The pool has two governing boards, a 10-chair nonprofit that runs and manages the pool, and an 8-chair that connects with the community. The Texas Pool continues to foster that sense of community here in Plano and is striving to preserve the pool as a community resource for generations to come.
Currently, the Texas Pool is gearing up for its opening on Memorial Day Weekend. Memberships are being sold at a reduced rate this year of $200 per family. There are also memberships for Singles and Seniors, as well as a discounted rate for Military and First Responders. This year’s opening is themed “Live Free, Swim Free,” and is — you guessed it — free all weekend. Julie Pham will open the pool with a performance of the National Anthem honoring our fallen heroes and there will be raffle among other events.
The Texas Pool plans to bring some favorite events back to the pool this summer such as a kids movie night where you can float in the pool at dusk and watch a film. They also hold events throughout the summer for disadvantaged youth and special needs groups. There is always a celebration on the Fourth of July and the Texas Pool volunteers walk in the Plano Independence Day Parade. Something new they are excited to have this year is a “Little Free Library,” with books of all types and for all age groups located out front. Pool patrons will be able to borrow a book or leave a book for others. The board is also exploring a few new events at the pool, such as wine tastings and live music. They want to provide as many opportunities as possible for the community to share.
According to Janet Moos, “The Texas Pool is a treasure from our past that allows us as a community to recognize the shared journey of the seasons of our lives.” If you’re ready to participate and jump into this community connection, I suggest the waterslide located around Odessa or the diving board in the Panhandle; you might prefer to wade in around Brownsville, or sun yourself along the Red River. Whatever you decide, just be sure to wear sunscreen!The Texas Pool Website >