Proctor pool a walk back in time

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PROCTOR — A summer trek to Proctor’s Olympus “swimming pool” is a walk back in time — to a period where pools weren’t concrete lined and filled with chlorinated water, but rather spring-fed ponds with weeds, tadpoles, frogs, salamanders, slides, beaches and, well you get the idea: all the amenities needed to create a fun-filled summer day for area kids and families.

Located a block from the high school and just a block off Route 3, there’s a small parking lot of a dozen or so cars, but the pool’s so central to the small town that most people can walk the mile or less to its shaded asphalt walkway leading up to the fenced off acreage filled with shade trees and a park-like atmosphere.

It’s been this way since most locals can remember. Lisa Miser, who had stepped up to run the pool this summer when a pool director had yet to be found, but recently turned over its operation to former Proctor High graduate Gannon McKearin, recalled historic photos of a 15-plus-foot high dive off the deeper side of the pond that has since been taken town. 

“It was pretty impressive to know they dove off that high platform,” Miser recalled, suggesting an attraction of the town that at one time gathered the entire community to its shores on hot, summer days.

The two-acre pond  was formed when the earthen embankment Olympus Pool Dam was built in 1885 to serve as a town water supply, and as its swimming pool. The dam is 390 feet long and 27 feet high.

It’s not a lot different today, minus the high dive and substituting twisty slides, a low-diving board, instead.

“The main attraction is just that it’s a fun environment for people to swim and hangout with their friends and family,” McKearin said of the place at which he learned to swim and spent many a summer day while growing up in Proctor.

“It’s mainly used by Proctor residents, but it is open to the public,” he notes. 

Asked if he thought Proctor residents knew how special and unique the “pool” was, McKearin said he thought they did, and then rattled off a list of those special things like it was second nature: “there’s a bunch of activities (swimming, kayaking, swinging, kickball, ping pong, etc.); there’s a snack bar; in most cases it’s within walking distance for Proctor residents, and it can be a place for people to go if they don’t have a pool or if they just don’t want to be at home.”

“My childhood at the Proctor pool mainly involved hanging out with my friends and catching frogs,” he recalled with boyish candor. “When I look back at my time at the Proctor pool, I only have good memories. It was definitely something I looked forward to each summer when I was younger.”

The pool officially opened June 17, and remains open through the summer each Thursday-Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

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