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July 15, 2023

Mobile Swimming Pools Were a Popular Way to Cool Off in Larger Cities in America in the 1960s

These were the “swimmobiles,” pools attached to a truck which could be parked on a street all day and conveniently towed away at night. Swimmobiles started in the 1960s and became very popular. The concept of the swimmobile appears to have been invented in the early 1960s in New Jersey as part of a collaboration with the YMCA. It’s a little unclear who exactly invented it, however.

An article published in the Central New Jersey Home News on July 25, 1962 credits H. H. Buel, the president of a trucking company known as Eastern Motor Dispatch, with coming up with the idea for the YMCA of Eastern Union County in Elizabeth, New Jersey. His swimmobile is described as an Eastern Motor Dispatch flatbed truck with a rectangular tank (8 feet by 20 feet and 4 feet deep) mounted onto the back.

But then an article published more than a year later on September 23, 1963 in Massillon, Ohio’s paper, The Evening Independent credits Jerry Croushore, the associate general secretary of the Eastern Union County YMCA, with conceiving of the swimmobile.

As if that weren’t enough, Frank J. Schweighardt, the director of the YMCA in South Bergen, New Jersey, is said to have come up with the idea of the swimmobile in an article published by The Baltimore Sun on July 20, 1967. Schweighardt’s pool is fiberglass and 25 feet by 8 feet, a little longer than the ones attributed to Buel and Croushore, but the same depth, 4 feet. It’s likely that Schweighardt did not invent the original swimmobile but he may have come up with this evolved model.

Throughout the 1960s, cities outside New Jersey began getting their own swimmobiles including Scottsdale, Arizona; Edmonton, Alberta; St. Louis, Missouri; and Rochester, New York.

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