Memories of Horn Springs Swimming Pool

21 Jun

From the 1930s to the 1970s, Horn Springs Swimming Pool was one of the most popular recreation spots in Middle Tennessee. People from communities throughout the region made their way to the watering hole for all kinds of summer fun.

I barely remember the pool but have heard tons of stories about it. I have talked to people who worked as lifeguards. I have heard stories of rumbles between rival high schools. I have also heard of blossoming romances within the area’s environs.

These stories come to me because my parents bought the property a few years after the swimming pool closed, and I have spent some time researching the property’s history. There are newspaper articles about the swimming pool and plenty of photographs, but the best information comes from the people who were there.

I have given presentations about Horn Springs to numerous groups, and I always ask for stories. Few people speak up, but one thing always happens. After the presentation, an older gentleman will come up to me and say, “I have a story, but you cannot tell anyone.”

You would not believe what some of those stories entail.

There are a few things that I can say about the swimming pool.

It was built by the Horn family, but Dr. R.D. Wilkinson owned it for most of its existence.

The water was always cold because they used well water to fill it.

They rang a dinner bell to signal when people had to get out of the water.

There was a tall diving board that tested the bravery of a lot of kids.

It was a special place to thousands of people.

For years after my parents bought to property, people would ride by to see if the pool was still open. One day, my brother noticed a man driving slowly by and asked if he needed anything. The man was a salesman who was traveling through the area and wanted to see if he could find the swimming pool. He went there as a kid and found his way to the entrance many years later. He was disappointed to find it closed.

When my parents bought the property, the swimming pool had become a garbage dump and was beyond repair. They filled it in, and the place where thousands of people visited became a place for cattle to graze.

The other day, my stepdaughter and I were riding the Gator through that part of the farm, and I thought about all of the things that happened there. I thought about all of the stories that I have heard.

There is not much left of the recreation area. A dilapidated picnic pavilion is the only building that remains.image-40

Horn Springs Swimming Pool is gone, but it remains in the memories of the people who were there. Even if many of those memories cannot be shared.

10 Responses to “Memories of Horn Springs Swimming Pool”

  1. jcalberta June 21, 2015 at 16:12 #

    Sad. Seems like it ought to be restored or something. Alas .. times pass.
    When I was six i used to go (with my brothers) to a pool in Mission City, BC. It was 3 pools actually: a wading pool, a middle size, and the deep pool. It was very well used – lots of kids and people there. 30 years later I drove past there just for curiosity .. and to my amazement it was still there !! That made me very happy.

    • Rick June 21, 2015 at 16:14 #

      It’s sad to see places fade away. It happens way too much.

  2. Marilyn Armstrong June 21, 2015 at 16:39 #

    It is nice that at least you have it as part of your personal heritage. Old swimming pools are usually not repairable. They have to be completely rebuilt and that’s a lot of money unless you wanted to go public again. Meanwhile, nice that you have the memories and the property.

    • Rick June 21, 2015 at 17:00 #

      It’s interesting to talk to people about it. Their eyes light up when they find out that it’s part of our farm.

  3. Andrew Petcher June 21, 2015 at 17:01 #

    Sounds rather like ‘Field of Dreams’.

    • Rick June 21, 2015 at 19:46 #

      It’s amazing the number of people who remember it.

      • DEBBIE WATSON KAYLOR August 4, 2016 at 18:31 #

        I REMEMBER HORN SPRINGS, I PRACTICALLY GREW UP THERE…EVERY YEAR WE HAD OUR FAMILY REUNIONSS THERE AS FAR BACK AS I CAN REMEMBER…WE HAD SO MUCH FUN,ALL OUR COUSINS WOULD SPEND TIME IN THE POOL, AND THE PARTY ROOMS, US KIDS WOULD GO IN THERE AND DANCE, AND DANCE…THERE WERE A LOT OF CUTE GUYS THAT WENT THERE…ONE IN PARTICULAR THAT I REMEMBER WAS, DALTON HORN, DOES ANYONE KNOW HIM????

      • Rick August 5, 2016 at 01:44 #

        Thanks for commenting. It’s always good to hear from people who remember Horn Springs and have great stories. I don’t know Dalton Horn, but I will try to find out about him.

  4. Cindy Pendley December 6, 2015 at 04:07 #

    Interesting read. Thanks for sharing your story. I found your blog while looking for info on horn springs.
    Please join our Horn Springs discussion on the donelson history facebook group.

    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.1121838091174806&type=1

    • Rick December 6, 2015 at 18:43 #

      Thank you for reading and for commenting. We have a lot of Horn Springs artifacts and information. If you ever have any questions please let me know.

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