BY GAIL ARNOTT WESSINGTON SPRINGS
The 1928 WS College Makojanjan Year Book includes a photo of our old pool — at the “deep end” with diving tower and slide. I’ve enjoyed the swimming pool photos published in the past in the “True Dakotan” — this is one I’ve not seen.
The diving tower I recall from the 1950s was three levels with a diving springboard on the second level designed and laminated by VanDyke’s LaArco company. The first level was about 3 feet high, the second about 12 feet, and the top deck about 18 feet above the water. There was a 3 foot high rail around this top deck some would climb to get additional height for their dive (Don’t tell my mother!).
Also don’t tell my mom we would wrestle at the end of the low springboard just east of the tower to determine “king of the board.” The winner of each match would stand at the diving end of the board facing the shore end, and a challenger would charge and the match was on. Don Hauge ruled this “sport.”
We also spent countless hours playing tag, often with a rubber ball. And who will ever forget late night swims….when you didn’t need to climb a wire fence….just run along the beach and dive in. We shared the pool with frogs, snakes, polywogs, and seaweed…and didn’t have to contend with the taste of chlorine. The sand and mud bottom was easy on the feet, and I recall sand-throwing battles…with the lifeguard participating. Chuck Sandersen and Lowell Hull were the guards I remember the best.
I returned as lifeguard and swimming/lifesaving instructor 1965-67. In the summer of 1967 Linda Whitlock and Gloria Myers Fastnacht helped. Except for Sunday morning and Saturday and Sunday eve, the pool was used for lessons in the morning and open swimming afternoons and evenings till 9.
More history from ‘28
More history from the 1928 “Makojanjan” Year Book. Some names you may remember — Frank J. Stratton was the “Mako” business manger; the president was Harry Ansted, his wife Grace the dean of women; Clark and Emma Shay were on the faculty, Emma began planning Shakespeare Garden in 1927.
The Board of Trustees included C.W. Habicht, Fred N. Dunham, George Whitney, F.G. Vessey.
Wessington Springs College students included James Peck, Dora Sargent, Esther Harden; and WSCHS students Daulton Barber, Ruth Short, Leona Harden, Dale Barber, Jay Gillette, Ruth Peck, and Burton Short.
College began as “Seminary” in 1887; re-name in 1918
The Wessington Springs Seminary was founded in 1887, along with the Free Methodist Church. In 1918 the Seminary became Wessington Springs Junior College and the first college courses began The first WSJC class graduated in 1923.
The last WSC and WSCHS classes graduated in 1964. Wessington Springs Academy operated from 1964-68.
The 125th anniversary of the WS Free Methodist Church (now called Foothills Bible Fellowship) and WSC/WSCHS/WSA reunion celebration will be held here in Wessington Springs June 22-24, 2012. The planning committee consists of April Grubb, Twila Zastrow, Joan Corr, and Gail and Susan Arnott.