Back in the 50’s and 60’s, people who wrote letters of inquiry to Fraternity Snoqualmie received form letters inviting them to visit, along with a brief description of the lifestyle and the facilities. The letters stated that we had “a most inviting pool”. Well, some people didn’t think it was particularly inviting. Voices of discontent could be heard up on the hill. “We should do something about that pool! I don’t like to feel the mud squishing up between my toes! Do ya know what I saw swimming around in the pool? A snake! I won’t dive into the pool; I like to see what I’m diving into! We need a concrete pool! How can we afford to have a concrete pool?! How can we afford not to?!”
The truth of these statements was undeniable. The old primitive nudist camps with swimming holes and outhouses were fading into oblivion. Some degree of modernization was essential to keep the club alive. But cost was certainly an important consideration. Club members put on their proverbial “thinking caps” and came up with a solution to the dilemma. A modern pool was still several years away, but, in the meantime, maybe the club could afford a swimming facility somewhat less elegant than a modern pool, but a step above the old pond.
If you’ve been reading “Up on the Hill” from the beginning, you know about the old pool, “Lake Forestia”. And, of course, you have seen and used the present-day pool complex (swimming pool/wading pool/spas). But most of our members aren’t aware of the fact the once there was yet another pool. For want of a better name, let’s call it the “Interim Pool”. You might want to dig out your May, 2002 Forestian and refer to the map which accompanied the 4th installment of “Up on the Hill”.
This was the plan: All the work would be done by a work party consisting of volunteer members. Members were invited and encouraged to donate as much as they could of money, tools, equipment, and good old-fashioned “elbow grease”. The following description of the work that was done may contain a few errors here and there, but otherwise, it is reasonably accurate.
The basic steps in the project were: (1) drain the pond, (2) scrape out a thick layer of sand and mud, leaving as smooth a surface as possible, (3) build forms, complete with rebar, for retaining walls and an apron all around the perimeter of the pond, (4) install plumbing and equipment for water circulation and filtration, (5) pour the apron/retaining walls, (6) plaster over the bottom of the pond with concrete, smoothing it with trowels, (7) paint the new pool, (8) fill the pool with water, (9) turn on the pump, (10) ENJOY!
Work began in the early summer of 1964. The first five steps were rather straightforward and were accomplished in a few weeks. Step number six, plastering the bottom, would be the big job. It was a beautiful, sunny weekend and about 50 members showed up for the work party. About 40 (give or take a few) were there to do concrete work. The other 10 (or maybe it was 5 or possibly 15) had the very important job of keeping everyone fed. The concrete workers were assigned to three main tasks. About half a dozen members operated a cement mixer. Another half dozen (or so) worked with trowels, while everyone else had the thankless job of transporting (via buckets) the concrete from the mixer to the pool.
Because of the large amount of hand work required, it wasn’t feasible to buy concrete by the mixer load. Mixing the concrete, about a cubic foot at a time with a portable mixer appeared to be the way to go. Buying concrete mix by the bag would have been convenient but very expensive. So the club bought the materials (cement, sand, and gravel) in bulk. Though less expensive, this was far less convenient. Somewhere, at a fairly level place on the lawn, there were three piles of material which had to be used right away.
The work began. “Squirt some water into the mixer! Throw in a shovel full of this and a shovel full of that! It’s too dry! We need more water! Not too much! It’ll weaken the product! OK, it’s ready to go! Hold out your bucket! Dump it right there! Here I go with my trowel!”
Up on the hill could be heard the rumbling of the cement mixer, the scraping of trowels, and the grunts and groans of the workers. After a few hours of hard labor, a voice could be heard, “I’m getting hungry! When do we eat?!” What would a nudist do without a casserole dish? If there’s a work party, there’s gotta be a potluck. Nobody remembers what foods were served, but you can bet that it hit the spot.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was the pool. To the best of everyone’s recollection, it took two weekends to complete the plastering job. It didn’t happen without incident. “Look at those black clouds! It’s gonna rain! We’ve gotta keep everything dry!” Using a strange assortment of bamboo poles, aluminum poles, plastic pipe, canvas and plastic tarps, as huge tent was hastily constructed. What a sight that must have been. But it did the job! “Oh, yes, there are a few bumps and hollows and a few rough spots. There’s no rebar in the bottom and the thickness varies from an inch or two to more than a foot, but we can live with that!”
After a few more sessions involving much smaller work parties, the pool was complete. This would be our swimming, wading, and floating facility for the next ten years. The pool was almost modern but it lacked many of the features of a truly modern pool. Nonetheless, it was definitely an improvement over the old pond. It was clean and clear so one could see the bottom. There was no mud and there were no snakes. Using filtered, treated, and recirculated water, it wasn’t necessary to supply a continuous flow of cold spring water. The depth varied from a few inches for wading to about nine feet for diving and swimming. There was plenty of room for floating on an air mattress, inner tube, or float toy.
The pool was beautiful! Painted a delicate blue and filled with crystal clear water, it was the envy of every nudist club in the Northwest. From a viewpoint on the lawn near what is now the club house, the pool resembled a giant sapphire jewel as it sparkled and shimmered in the afternoon sunlight.
We were delighted with our pool and other improvements that had been made. Near the end of the 60’s decade, we decided that it was time to retire the name “Camp Forestia”. Proudly, Fraternity Snoqualmie joined other nudist clubs as the owners and operators of a RECREATIONAL PARK! What was once a rustic camp now had a new look and a new name – “Park Forestia”.
← Previous “Part VIII: Open the Gate!”