Back to SVHS Web Site


The Swimming Hole – by Don Blegen

Printed in the Spring Valley Sun/Argus - August 5, 2009

Back in the days before air conditioning, August could be nearly unbearable. Dads had to work in the hotsun, moms sweltered in overheated houses, and the kids sweated it out. But there was a solution for the kids of SV that could get away for an hour or two. They could ride their bikes about a mile north of town, walk over a small hill, and find themselves at the Swimming Hole.

It was almost exactly where the swimming beach of the Recreation Area is now, where the Eau Galle River cut through what was then Merton and Louise LambÕs pasture. Just below Bill DuesingÕs Hole, where Lousy CreekÕs frigid spring water entered the river, and just above the cliff pool called First Rocks. It was deep. It had a high bank good for cannonballs, just plain jumping, or racing dives. And it was cold.

After all that effort in getting there, the anticipation of getting in that cool, clear water was almost unbearable. Shoes and socks flew off. Clothes came off, sometimes with swimsuits underneath, sometimes not. Some entered the water gradually, savoring the cold water until they were in up to their necks. Others threw caution to the winds and flew off the bank into the pool with a humongous splash. Both techniques solved the problem.

The heat of the day was extinguished. After a few minutes of chilling down in the Swimming Hole, that hot sun actually felt good. So you lay on the grassy bank among the shoes and piles of clothes and soaked it up, until you were ready for another cooldown.

For more information on historic Spring Valley, Doug BlegenÕs two books, Spring Valley: The Early Years and Spring Valley: Yesteryear Revisited, are available at Valley Drug in Spring Valley


Spring Valley Drug & Do It Best Hardware

Spring Valley, WI