Shewsbury-Windle House; A close up photo of one of the statues in the Broadway Fountain; Wrought iron railing.
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Madison, Indiana

Crystal Beach Pool and Bath House

Current view of Crystal Beach Pool and Bath House

Current view of Crystal Beach Pool and Bath House
Courtesy of Bradley Miller

During the Great Depression, the Work Progress Administration (WPA) mobilized labor and resources to construct many civic projects including parks, golf courses, and pools. Madison’s Crystal Beach Swimming Pool and Bath House are two monuments of the WPA’s work in southern Indiana. They showcase the marriage of functionality and artistry seen in many WPA projects. Constructed in 1938, the pool and bath house embody the Craftsman style popular during the 1930s and 1940s.

Vincennes, Indiana, architect Lester Routt designed the two-story, rough-cut stone bath house, which features a full front porch with a wood balcony supported by stone columns. The gable-on-hip roof includes wide eave overhangs with exposed rafters, a characteristic usually found on Craftsman designs. The ground floor includes changing rooms and a concession area around a central passageway that leads to the pool. Second-floor space has been used as a roller skating rink, dance hall, and the local Boys Club’s meeting space.

The 20,000 gallon, nine-foot deep pool’s semi-circular (kidney, clam shell, open-fan) shape hugs the bath house and gracefully fits its landscaped surroundings. A wall made of the same rough-cut ashlar used in the bath house’s construction circles the pool area. Originally the pool was bordered by sand to help create a beach atmosphere and was illuminated by underwater porthole lights used during evening swims. Both elements were removed in the 1950s due to safety concerns. Renovated in 2004, the pool retains its historic shape and surroundings and is still a popular place to swim.

The Crystal Beach Pool contributes to the historic significance of the Madison Historic District, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and designated a National Historic Landmark.

Plan your visit

The Crystal Beach Pool is located at 400 W. Vaughn Dr. Click here for the Madison Historic District National Historic Landmark file: text. The Crystal Beach Pool is open to the public from 12:00pm until 8:00pm seven days a week from Memorial Day until the start of the school year. Daily admission is $4.00 and family season passes are available. For more information, visit the City of Madison Parks & Recreations website or call 812-265-8308.

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