Final Lap in Claremont: Famed Broad Street Pool Set to Close After 63 Years
Young swimmers, including Zoey Foote, 10, of Claremont, on the left diving board, and Cayla Carpia, also 10, of Claremont, on the right diving board, prepare to dive at Goodwin Community Center’s pool in Claremont yesterday. The pool has been around since 1950 and will be shut down this week. (Valley News - Libby March) Purchase photo reprints »
Jason Demars, 7, of Claremont, sits on the bench at Goodwin Community Center's pool in Claremont yesterday. (Valley News - Libby March) Purchase photo reprints »
A description of swimming tips is shown on the wall at the Goodwin Community Center's pool in Claremont. The pool has been around since 1950 and is being shut down this week to be replaced by a new one. (Valley News - Libby March) Purchase photo reprints »
Samantha Woodman, left, struggles to unbraid her wet hair as Jennie Morey comes up for air at the end of their swimming session at the Goodwin Community Center pool. Both girls are 13 and live in Claremont. (Valley News - Libby March) Purchase photo reprints »
The Goodwin Community Center pool has been around since 1950 and is being shut down this week to be replaced by a new one. (
Valley News - Libby March) Purchase photo reprints »
Claremont — On Saturday, the new $10 million Claremont Savings Bank Community Center will host an open house. This new facility has been welcomed by the city in a big way, as more than 900 individuals have joined to take advantage of the facilities.
“And we haven’t even opened yet,” said Scott Hausler, the director of the Claremont Parks and Recreation Department.
In the new center will be two swimming pools — an eight-lane, 210,000 gallon 25-meter pool and a 40,000-gallon pool that will be used primarily for lessons.
While this is good news, it comes with a little sadness. The Goodwin-Bailey Indoor Pool on Broad Street will no longer be needed.
To those who have been around for a while, the closing of the indoor pool will close out a lot of memories.
The indoor pool was a home away from home for so many, and not just Claremonters. Swimmers came from all over the Upper Valley, particularly in the winter months, to swim in its warm waters.
“It was absolutely packed,” said Gordon Dansereau, who, along with his nine brothers and sisters, were at the pool all the time. “It was our home away from home.”
Dansereau, 50, remembers when he first started swimming there, admission was 10 cents. When the fee was raised to 20 cents, his father told him he would have to get a job.
The Goodwin-Bailey Pool was opened in 1950. The four-lane 25-by-10 yard pool cost $100,000 to construct.
Jean-Guy Jacques, now 77, was there when it opened. “I lived in that pool,” he said.
Jacques said that three friends of his would put on a clown act during breaks in the swim meets. “It was fun. It was a wonderful place,” he said.
While the people using the pool changed over the years, there was one mainstay for nearly 50 years — Olney “Queenie” Quimby, the Goodwin Community Center’s aquatic instructor. Not only did Quimby run the indoor and outdoor pools, he treated them as if they were family members.
“We used to kid him about living at the indoor pool because he was there so much,” Dansereau said. “Then he showed us a green cot he had. We knew then the joke was on us.”
Quimby was a big man with big eyes, big hands, but most of all he was man with a big, deep voice.
“That voice could scare the bejeebers out of you, it you didn’t know him,” said Jacques.
But like everyone who did know him they eventually came to admire him.
“He was so concerned about everybody in the pool and their safety.” Jacques said. “One time I was practicing my back flip and he thought I hit my head,” said Jacques.
“In the pool he comes, T-shirt and all.”
Quimby died in 1999, two years after Hausler was hired as director.
“I was kind of young when I first came here,” Hausler said. “I was intimidated by him with those big eyes, big hands and that voice. He would tell me the things I did wrong, but one thing he always said was we are all one big family here.”
Quimby was also coach of the Claremont swim team, which won multiple Twin State Valley championships.
He coached the team during a time when the team had as many as 100 swimmers or more.
“I think I was 5 years old when I first joined the swim team,’ said Dansereau who stayed on the team through high school.
At outdoor home meets, he somehow kept track of who was up, who was on deck and what heat it was — and he never needed a bullhorn to be heard.
“Oh, that voice,” Jacques said.