Everyone in the Pool
It’s summertime, and the living is easy. Especially if you dive into a crisp, rippling pool every chance you get. Sure, we’re surrounded by water everywhere you look, but Long Islanders have a particular love for the personal swimmin’ holes that bring such pleasure—not to mention beauty to the landscape—to their homes.
The tradition is not as old as one might imagine. In a post–World War II America where suburban communities—inspired by Long Island’s very own Levittown—were springing up in the 1950s and making home ownership possible for the masses, the notion of the perfect backyard was born. Alongside swing sets and charcoal grills, few amenities defined this outdoor extension of the dream home like the swimming pool.
In the decades that followed, pools evolved in size, shape and sheer magnitude. Above ground, inground, semi-inground, waterfalls, infinity edges, underwater music systems…the options and amenities are endless. As are the fun and fascinating facts you can break out at your next pool party. To paraphrase Plato, a person “is not learned until he can read, write, and swim.” Or at least until they’ve memorized these tidbits:
- There are more than 10.5 million swimming pools in America, with Phoenix topping the charts for the city with the most pools—32.7% of all homes have one.
- The most famous house in America—the White House—did not have an outdoor swimming pool until Gerald Ford built one in 1975. An indoor pool was built for Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933.
- Historians believe the first swimming pool, the Great Bath of Mohenjo-daro in what is now Pakistan, was constructed around 2600 B.C. It had multiple entry stairs and a surrounding deck.
- Gaius Maecenas of Rome built the first heated pool, in the 1st century B.C.
- Gunite was invented in 1907 by taxidermist Carl E. Akley, the same year the first above-ground pool in the U.S. was reportedly put up in Philadelphia. The first gunite inground pool was not built until 1940.
- The Guinness Book of World Records tells us that the world’s largest swimming pool is found at the San Alfonso del Mar resort in Algarroba, Chile. The pool covers an area of 19.77 acres and can hold 66 million gallons of water.
- More than 8 out of 10 pools use a chlorine system to keep the water clean. The chlorine filtration system for pools was invented in 1910 at Brown University.
- Google searches for the phrase “pool installation” increased 49% across the U.S. in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- According to HouseLogic, a pool may increase a home’s sale value by as much as 7%.
As for the enjoyment of a pool during a Long Island summer, well, it’s hard to slap a price on that. So put on that bathing suit, drop your towel on the lounge chair and come on in, the water’s fine…