Most years, the pool was drained for winter but some years it was allowed to freeze over for ice skating.

In 1916, the pool was allowed to freeze for skating and it saved the park.

On Christmas night, while a huge holiday dance was being held in the pavilion, a fire broke out in the park's power house and quickly spread to the restaurant. Fire crews were unable to draw enough water to fight the fire because of a water main break downtown. Fortunately, they were able to break the ice and draw water from the pool. It was too late to save the burning buildings but the rest of the park was spared.

Pool 1908

Many patrons--perhaps most--rented swimsuits at the park. As recently as 1923, an ad for the park boasted, "Fifteen Hundred New Bathing Suits!"

Back in 1905, about half of all workers earned less than $12 a week. The cheapest women's bathing suit Sears sold cost $1.75--about 15% of a week's wages. The cheapest men's suit ran 65¢--a still substantial 5% of a week's wages.

Most people couldn't afford the extravagance for something they'd wear just a couple times during the summer. So, like bowling shoes, they rented instead.

Rental suits also allowed patrons the freedom to go for a swim if they had neglected to bring their swimming gear from home.

Picturesque America

Period swimsuits, probably not rentals. Charles Dana Gibson, "Picturesque America" (1900)

Probably the most unusual use the pool was ever put to was as a baptismal font.

In July of 1924, the International Bible Students Association held a convention at the Ohio State Fairgrounds. Thousands of delegates from the United States and around the world attended. On the final day, a baptism was held. The convention secured the use of nearby Indianola Park's pool for the occasion.

On Saturday, July 26, 1924, before a crowd numbering more than 10,000, 750 Bible Students were baptized in the shallow end of the pool. The dance pavilion orchestra played hymns for the ceremony. Indianola staff helped people in and out of the pool.

Even with the help of park staff and two clergyman officiating, it took over an hour to complete all the baptisms.