The Natatorium story: California version

Hey, does this sound familiar?

A great natatorium opens in the 1920s. It’s a wonderful community resource; people from all across town come together there and enjoy swimming together.

But there are years of deferred maintenance and neglect; eventually, it’s closed as unsafe.

Same story; happy ending

For once, we’re not talking about the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium. This is the story of the Municipal Natatorium in Richmond, Calif., better known there as The Plunge.

Is the story of the Richmond, Calif., natatorium a model for Honolulu and Hawaii?

In Richmond, as this article on the New York Times websiteattests, there was a happy ending! Citizens groups rallied to support the local natatorium. The city, the state and private funders worked together.

The pool has been restored and reopened. According to the story, it’s “open seven days a week for swimming, aquatic fitness programs and water sports like kayaking.”

If Richmond can do it, we can, too!

What can you do?

Write to Mayor Carlisle and members of the Honolulu City Council. Tell them about the Municipal Natatorium in Richmond, Calif. Tell them you think Richmond’s story should be a model for our own. Tell them that you favor stabilizing the Natatorium and preserving it while financing comes together for full renewal and reopening. Thank them in advance for their support for what will eventually be another success story worthy of New York Times coverage.


Categories: History, News coverage, and Uncategorized.