Idaho is fortunate to have some amazing historic public pools across the state. Not only are these pools significant for their history, but they are also important for their architecture.
The pools at Lowell Elementary and South Junior High in Boise were constructed in 1953 and designed by Wesley Bintz of Lansing Michigan and constructed by Jordan and Sons of Boise. The identical entrances at both Boise pools feature Art Moderne design elements . While at least seventy were constructed nationwide, these Bintz beauties are a disappearing historic resource across the United States
The twin structures are unique as above-ground concrete pools designed by engineer Wesley Bintz of Lansing, Michigan. Bintz, who specialized in swimming pool design, patented his “Bintz Pool” in 1926. Between 1919 and the 1960s, approximately seventy Bintz Pools were constructed in twenty different states, including Idaho. The pools, which ranged in size from 35’ x 40’ to as large as 130’ x 240’, required little excavation, which meant they were cheaper to build than an in-ground pool. The identical entrances at both Boise pools feature Art Moderne design elements recognizable for their “aerodynamic” curves and block lettering. While at least seventy were constructed nationwide, these Bintz beauties are a disappearing historic resource across the United States.
The Boise pools are two of the few remaining continuously operated Bintz pools, however, due to COVID-19, the pools will not open this Memorial Day Weekend for the 2020 summer season. After being closed for two consecutive summers by the City of Boise, neighbors and local preservationists have started a campaign to bring attention to these architecturally significant structures. Their efforts include the drafting of two National Register of Historic Places nominations for these eligible recreational resources and they are working closely with our office, which administers this program.
Thanks to Tegan D’Arcangelis Baiocchi more can be found on Bintz and his pools here – https://teganbaiocchi.wordpress.com/…/wesley-bintz…/
Photos are copyright of Preservation Idaho and the Idaho State Historical Society.
Thanks to SHPO for text and information concerning these pools.