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Contested WatersA Social History of Swimming Pools in America$
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Jeff Wiltse

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780807831007

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807888988_wiltse

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“Alone in the Backyard”: Swimming Pools in Recent America

“Alone in the Backyard”: Swimming Pools in Recent America

(p.181) Chapter 7 “Alone in the Backyard”: Swimming Pools in Recent America
Contested Waters

Jeff Wiltse

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter examines the redefinition of municipal swimming pools in the northern United States that began in the Progressive Era, when large cities designed pools to combat crime and juvenile delinquency. It looks at the proliferation of private pools after 1950, most of them located in the suburbs, and the factors driving this dramatic growth, including economic prosperity, mass suburbanization, and lower costs of pool construction. The chapter also considers the impact of the privatization of swimming pools on the quality of community life in America, and particularly on the poor and working class. Finally, it describes the social and cultural meanings Americans attached to swimming pools at the end of the twentieth century.

Keywords:   municipal swimming pools, United States, crime, juvenile delinquency, economic prosperity, suburbanization, privatization, community life, poor, working class

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